Google Play mobile download button
Apple IOS mobile download button
Google Play mobile download button
Apple IOS mobile download button
HomeAus & NZDeath of assaulted prisoner probed by coroner

Death of assaulted prisoner probed by coroner

'Quick read' news summary

A Dunedin-based coroner is investigating whether the death of a prisoner was preventable after he was assaulted and suffered a severe head injury, dying more than a year later.

Grant Steven Bowden, 47, was struck by a fellow prisoner in the exercise yard on 3 November in 2017, falling backwards, hitting his head on the concrete and knocking him unconscious.

He was taken to Dunedin Hospital where medical staff saved his life by preventing his swollen brain from being crushed against his skull and he was discharged after 12 days.

The incident resulted in a traumatic brain injury and severe disability that meant he could not swallow liquids or food.

He was transferred to a facility in West Auckland in May 2018.

Bowden died of multiple organ system failure at Auckland’s Waitākere Hospital in December in 2018 after developing a chest infection.

Senior forensic pathologist, Dr Martin Sage, told the inquest the brain injury was extremely severe and he was susceptible to aspiration pneumonia due to his disability.

One of his physicians at the time described his outlook as dismal, he said.

“In my view, there is an incontrovertible causal link between the head injuries he sustained and his eventual death from complications with aspiration pneumonia, but they could be most likely a direct consequence of his swallowing disability engendered by his head injuries.”

Coroner Cunninghame is overseeing the inquest at Dunedin District Court, and said she would review the cause and circumstances of his death.

“Did Otago Corrections Facility custodial staff comply with their duties, legislative policy and procedural to Mr Bowden? Did OCF health staff adequately assess, treat and manage Mr Bowden?”

A few weeks before the incident, Bowden was remanded in custody on burglary charges.

He suffered from schizophrenia

A Dunedin-based coroner is investigating whether the death of a prisoner was preventable after he was assaulted and suffered a severe head injury, dying more than a year later. The incident resulted in a traumatic brain injury and severe disability that meant he could not swallow liquids or food. Senior forensic pathologist, Dr Martin Sage, told the inquest the brain injury was extremely severe and he was susceptible to aspiration pneumonia due to his disability.

Read different perspectives