Tragic Death of Annelise Sanderson, 18-Year-Old Inmate at HMP Styal
Annelise Sanderson, an 18-year-old inmate at HMP Styal, was found dead in her cell. Despite previously being identified as at risk of suicide, Miss Sanderson had appeared “happy and bubbly” before her untimely demise, according to her inquest.
The young woman had been sentenced to 52 weeks in June 2020 for assaulting a paramedic after attempting to set fire to herself at a petrol station. During her time in an adult prison, her mother described her as a “lost soul,” highlighting the difficulties she faced. Unfortunately, just six months later, Miss Sanderson was discovered hanging in her cell, mere weeks away from her scheduled release.
The inquest, held at Cheshire Coroner’s Court in Warrington, revealed that a safety plan had been opened for Miss Sanderson just a week after she arrived at the prison. She had been deemed at risk of suicide and self-harm. Julie Crabtree, a prison officer with 28 years of experience, recalled her encounter with Miss Sanderson in late June. The young woman had spoken about having someone in her cell whom she had thrown out of the window due to annoyance.
However, a month later, Miss Sanderson’s demeanor seemed to have changed. During a review on 20 July, she presented as “happy and bubbly,” expressing that everything was fine. She had become accustomed to life on the wing and displayed a positive attitude during subsequent reviews.
Nurse Victoria Corris, the clinical lead for the mental health team at the prison, described Miss Sanderson as “chaotic” upon her arrival. The teenager was partially unclothed and had to be assessed through the cell hatch. Despite her initial concerns, Nurse Corris did not believe that Miss Sanderson posed an immediate risk to herself.
The jury heard that Miss Sanderson had a history of self-harm and had even attempted to set fire to a wardrobe while in custody. Although a safety plan had been put in place for her, it was closed on 8 July when she was transferred from the segregation unit to the prison wing. However, she was still under hourly observations.
Just two days before her death, Miss Sanderson had been noted as attempting to jump over the prison balcony. The nurse expressed her shock at the inmate’s tragic demise.
The inquest into Annelise Sanderson’s death continues as officials seek to understand the circumstances surrounding this heartbreaking incident.