South Acton Man's Family Stage Protest Two Years on From His Death

Winston Augustine was found hanged in his cell at Wormwood Scrubs

Winston Augustine. Picture: Kimberley Chambers


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The grieving family of Winston Augustine are staging a protest outside Wormwood Scrubs where he was found dead two years ago.

They said they want justice and are unhappy about the delays in discovering what led to his death.

Mr Augustine, from South Acton, was on remand and awaiting sentence for robbery when he was found dead in a segregation cell on August 30 2018. The family were told he was found hanging in his prison cell.

Banners outside Wormwood Scrubs on anniversary of his death
Banners outside Wormwood Scrubs on anniversary of his death. Picture: Diane Martin

His cousin Diane Martin said the call about the 43-year-old’s death “was not something I expected”.

She said: “We were very close, we were brought up like brother and sister.”

He grew up in south Acton and had been on remand for eight months when he died .

Kimberley Chambers, Catherine Slatter & Diane Martin. Picture: Darren Pepe

Miss Martin last spoke to him on the August Bank Holiday when she was preparing a family gathering at her Shepherd’s Bush home and was cooking lunch for relatives including his mother Catherine Slatter.

“He was very loving and very family orientated. He loved his mum and he loved his family,” said Miss Martin.

And she said there was “no way” he would take his own life. He’d recently been given the all-clear from cancer, but had diabetes.

She said the family has “serious concerns” about what happened. He had been in and out of prison over the years and had the support of his girlfriend Kimberley Chambers who raised the alarm when he missed his daily phone call to her.

Miss Martin said he had been on and off drugs as he tried to deal with painful health problems which had got him into crime.

“He was so intelligent. He really tried to turn his life around,” said Miss Martin.

He also worked with Safe Ground, a charity which works with prisoners and offenders. A year before his death he accepted an award from Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow. However he found himself back in prison not long afterwards.

“Prison did not bother him, prison was unfortunately part of his life,” said Miss Martin.

And he was expecting a long sentence, but had served a long stretch in prison before.

She added, “We want to find the truth.”

The family struggled to find out where his body was taken and later learned it was transferred from the prison to the coroner’s office in Fulham. He was buried six months ago after the wait for a post mortem report, just after his birthday. So far the family have seen a 600-page report about Mr Augustine’s death.

Miss Martin said: “It was a really hard read. I had tears in my eyes, my aunt was vomiting.”

And she said delays in getting a date for an inquest were taking their toll.

“We need to find out what happened. We want justice – we want to find out the truth.”

The family and supporters from United Family and Friends Campaign which supports families of people who died in prison, police custody and psychiatric units will stage a socially distanced protest outside Wormwood Scrubs Prison on the anniversary of his death.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said it could not comment until the inquest is concluded.

A pre-inquest hearing will be held on November 20 at West London coroners court and a date for the inquest will be set then.

Julia Gregory - Local Democracy Reporter

August 19, 2020

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