Father of graffiti artist found hanged blasts prison system

Tom Collister
Tom Collister

originally published by: News Shopper
published: 2nd December 2010

The father of a graffiti artist found hanged in jail has hit out at the “incompetence” of the prison system. An inquest into the death of 23-year-old Tom Collister, from Penge, has revealed multiple failures in the care provided.

Tom was found dead in his prison cell at HMP Camp Hill in Newport on the Isle of Wight on the morning of February 7 last year.

He had been serving a 30-month sentence for conspiracy to commit criminal damage, which had been slashed by 10 months four days earlier following an appeal hearing.

Tom, who lived with his mother in Stembridge Road, was in a gang of graffiti artists which carried out a two-year campaign of vandalism on trains and stations around south London.

During his sentence – the longest in the country ever given for graffiti offences – he was transferred to Camp Hill while his co-defendants remained in Wandsworth.

However he expected to return to Wandsworth to see out his sentence following his appearance at the Court of Appeal in London. But Tom was left distraught when he was told by prison escort staff that he would be going back to Camp Hill instead.

He was found dead in his cell four days later.

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4WardEver readers and parents of Paul Day said:

The similarities in the deaths of both my son Paul and Tom Collister are frightening.

Would you not think that Wandsworth had learned lessons after moving Paul from there to a prison 300 miles away from home where he also committed suicide.

We were promised vast changes in the transfer system when Paul died. What happened to the changes? Tom would not be dead if they had assessed him properly.

This is a shocking case of neglect.

Pauline Day