Prisoner died in his cell ‘after being used as guinea pig for new spice drug’

A prisoner who racked up a drug debt in prison died in his cell after being "bullied" by fellow inmates who "used him as a guinea pig for spice", a damning report has said.

Father-of-one Kyle Batsford was just 37 when he died in hospital on September 25, 2019, after being found unresponsive in his cell at HMP Lindholme, Doncaster.

According to tests, he died after spice caused a heart attack which resulted in his brain being starved of oxygen.

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Spice is a popular synthetic drug which can leave users in a crazed "zombie-like" state. It has achieved notoriety in Britain and elsewhere in recent years.

It is usually made up of herbs or shredded plant material, with man-made chemicals added which mimic cannabinoids, found in cannabis.

A report by the Prisons Ombudsman said: "There is evidence that he was bullied by other prisoners because he had built up drug debts, and that he may have been bullied into using PS (psychoactive substances) shortly before his death.

"There is evidence that Mr Batsford got into debt because of his PS use and that, as a result, he was bullied and used as a ‘PS guinea pig’ by other prisoners."

Mr Batsford, from Northampton, initially refused to name the perpetrators but later mentioned the nicknames of two prisoners who had tried to force him to take psychoactive substances, and who he said had slapped and tried to stab him when he refused.

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On June 18, 2019, Lindholme received a letter from Mr Batsford's partner who was concerned about his wellbeing and mental health.

On July 30, Mr Batsford told a key worker he paid for PS by taking 'Spice challenges' or selling his milk and other items. Security reports noted that on August 18 and 23, several prisoners watched and laughed at Mr Batsford while he was under the influence of drugs.

It was suggested he was being used to test new batches of PS and "for amusement," the report noted.

A prisoner told staff that Mr Batsford had been pressured to take PS by other prisoners about 10 minutes before staff had arrived in his cell. He had passed out and prisoners had "slapped him and drawn on him".

After two days on life support, doctors switched it off on September 25 and he died that day.

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