Five weeks ago a Jamaican man detained at the UK’s Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincoln died. How do we know this? Thanks to a single Guardian article (see below) published on 4 October.
“…Investigation has been launched into the death of a 38-year-old immigration detainee after the Home office confirmed that a Jamaican man died on Tuesday while he was being held at Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincoln. It is the third such death in less than a month and human rights campaigners have expressed alarm at the incident. The prisons and probation ombudsman has begun an investigation.
The charity Medical Justice, which works to improve the health of immigration detainees, has documented deaths since 2000. With this latest case the death toll of those who have died in immigration detention or shortly after release since that time stands at 43…….”
Since then there’s been little information in the public domain on this death apart from a letter written by detainees at Morton Hall sent to The Unity Centre in Scotland. Excerpts from detainees’ letter below …..
“Mr Carlinton Spencer was a detainee here at Morton Hall. Unfortunately Mr Spencer aka (Rasta) died in hospital on the 2nd of October 2017.
This whole ordeal started on Thursday the 28th of September 2017 when two of Mr Spencer’s friends turned at his room in Fry Unity 3/06. They noticed that the door was unlocked and the room was dark, however they heard some sort of distress voice coming from inside. They both came in and switched the lights on. They found Mr Spencer lying in floor in agony and unable to get back in bed. They assisted him and put him on his bed. One of them went to the office in Fry unit and informed the officers. Two female officers arrived an started speculating that Mr Spencer’s condition was induced by drugs consumption. Few minutes later a nurse came in and failed to assess Mr Spencer’s conditions properly. The nurse put a tissue on Mr Spencer’s hand, asked him to wipe his own nose when she could clearly see this was not possible. According to these two detainee’s testimony the nurse assisted Mr Spencer’s hands to wipe his own nose but his hand kept pulling back down. The officers and the nurse asked Rasta’s two friends to leave the room but one of them insisted to stay.
On Friday the 29th of September 2017 about midday, another detainee went to Mr Spencer’s room to check on him. But this point Mr Spencer was shaking in his bed and looking in a very bad state. This detainee informed the officers in Fry unit while another detainee went to the health care and dragged the medical professional to come to check on Mr Spencer’s conditions. Few detainees were standing outside Mr Spencer’s door when the nurse and doctor arrived. The officers asked the detained to go away but they decided they would not leave until Mr Spencer is taking to a hospital. An ambulance arrived at about 2pm and Mr Spencer was then taken to hospital.
It has now been said that Mr. Spencer suffered another stroke while in the back of the ambulance on his way to hospital and in fact he was in a (non induced) coma in hospital and died on Monday 2nd of October 2017. We were not told by IRC Morton Hall staff of this until Wednesday 4th of October 2017.
I know one detainee Mr T put a written complaint on Saturday because he directly witnessed what happen to Mr Spencer and how he was neglected. Mr T was moved to the CCU on Monday 2nd of October 2017 in the afternoon and now has been moved out of this centre but no one can get a hold of him.”
- Why has the UK & Jamaican media paid little attention to this tragedy?
- Why the silence in the UK black community?
- Has the Jamaican govt – through its UK Ambassador – issued a public statement or update?
- Has an autopsy been conducted and details published?
The death of detainees based at UK immigration removal centres is nothing new. The mental and physical abuse of detainees is common and well documented. Even the UN has raised concerns in the past.
Those detainees who know the rules and try to fight back legally are threatened by UK authorities with immediate deportation.
Yarl Wood Immigration Revmoval Centre has had a poor record of abuse against detainees. Just recently officials at a removal centre near Gatwick were suspended following abuse and assault claims.
The silence in the coverage and interests in Carlinton Spencer’s death is sad but not surprising.