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Prison officer killed herself after being sacked for watching rugby

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A coroner has called for a review into the way the prison service treats its employees during disciplinary proceedings after a woman officer committed suicide following being sacked.

Janet Norridge killed herself after being sacked for watching a Rugby World Cup match while recovering from a cancer scare, an inquest has heard.

The 34-year-old was spotted in the crowd at a live TV screening of the semi-final match between Wales and France at the Millennium Stadium in 2011.

She was on sick leave at the time and one of her colleagues reported her to the prison governors.

She was suspended from work and was found hanging after losing an appeal.

The Gwent coroner, David Bowen, is to write to the prison service calling for a review of the way officers are treated during disciplinary proceedings.

Concluding that Norridge, who worked at Cardiff prison, had killed herself, the coroner said: “She felt she had been unfairly dismissed – that was the matter playing on her mind.

“I will be writing to the director of the prison service asking for a review of the treatment provided to prison staff facing disciplinary hearings in order that they deal appropriately with the people that appear before them.”

Norridge’s family said she had been treated cruelly by the prison authorities. In her evidence to the coroner, her mother, Joanna, said her daughter had been branded a “skiver” and her “mental fragility” was ignored.

Joanna said: “She had sorted out her personal effects and we found forms she had started to fill in to take the prison service to an employment tribunal.

“My husband and I, as her next of kin, decided to fight the matter on her behalf.

“My daughter was right in her feeling that she was unfairly dismissed.”

An employment tribunal in London two years later found in favour of Mrs Norridge and her husband John because the prison authorities had made an error in law by sacking their daughter.

The inquest, in Newport, heard Ms Norridge set up a national charity after being diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, the condition she was diagnosed with before her tragic death.

Sufferers inherit a gene which makes them prone to a variety of cancers.