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Another inmate death at Parc Prison: The latest tragedy in an ongoing crisis?

PARC Prison in Bridgend, has been struck by yet another sad event, marking the latest in a series of inmate deaths that have plagued the institution this year. This most recent death, which occurred on 5 June 2024, involves Pembrokeshire inmate Robert Royan, who was 71-years-old. Royan’s death is the eleventh this year, and has worried families and friends of those in the prison, who are assuming that the death was probably avoidable.

It remains to be seen if the death is linked to natural causes or drug use, however this newspaper understands that Royan died in hospital following admission, and not at the prison itself.

From Pembroke Dock, Royan was a known drug user. Had a criminal record for amphetamines, which The Herald reported on in 2017. He was jailed in 2018 for his fourth arson offence – setting fire to a flat. Although he had previously confessed to setting hundreds of fires over the years – many of them were in the Tenby area.

The prison, run by private security firm G4S, has been under intense scrutiny following a spate of deaths linked to drug misuse, particularly synthetic opioids like Spice and Nitazene. The situation inside the prison appears to remain critical, with another protest scheduled outside the prison on July 29.


In recent weeks, the prison has also experienced significant unrest. Just last month, on 31 May 2024, a riot involving around twenty inmates erupted, leading to several prisoners requiring hospital treatment. The unrest, centered on the B3 wing of the prison, saw emergency services, including riot vans and police, deployed to restore order.

G4S denies this was a riot, and calls what happened ‘two separate incidents’. It clearly was – requiring the assistance of specialist officers from outside the prison to put it down, something we previously reported on.

The management of Parc Prison has come under fire, with calls for the UK government to intervene and take control from G4S. Heather Whitehead, the former director of the prison, stepped down earlier this month amid the ongoing crisis. Will Styles, who has a long tenure in the prison service, has been appointed as her replacement.LAST MONTHS PROTEST AT PARC PRISON, ANOTHER ONE IS SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 29 (VIDEO: BBC WALES)

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman is currently investigating the deaths at Parc Prison, aiming to uncover the root causes and prevent further tragedies. Meanwhile, the families of deceased inmates continue to demand justice and better conditions for those still incarcerated, protesting outside the prison and calling for urgent reforms.

This report marks the first confirmation of the death of Robert Royan at Parc Prison, highlighting the urgent need for transparency and action to address the ongoing issues within the facility.

A HMP Parc spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald on Friday: “Mr Robert Royan passed away on Wednesday 05 June 2024. His next of kin have been informed and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

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“As with all deaths in custody, this will be investigated by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and the cause of death is for the Coroner to determine.”

Regards the disturbance last month, the G4S said: “On Friday 31 May, two separate, short-lived incidents were resolved by onsite G4S staff.”

“All 20 prisoners involved were in their cells, locked up and compliant by the time the requested mutual aid arrived and were deployed to the unit.

“No prisoners or staff were injured in this incident

“The second incident was unrelated and involved an altercation between three prisoners, who required hospital treatment.”

As the investigation continues, the eyes of the nation remain fixed on Parc, hoping for swift and effective measures to bring an end to these tragic events.