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Outsourcing giant under fire over man’s death in immigration detention

Marcin Gwozdzinski from Poland died at Harmondsworth in 2017

SECURITY privateer Mitie’s management will come under scrutiny after a Polish man was able to take his own life at the firm’s largest immigration detention centre near Heathrow.

A two-week inquest opens tomorrow at West London coroner’s court to probe the role of Mitie, the Home Office and the NHS in the death of 28-year-old Marcin Gwozdzinski.

Mr Gwozdzinski died in hospital on September 7 2017 after he collapsed at the Harmondsworth removal centre, where he had spent nine months awaiting deportation.

Assistant Coroner Catherine Wood will explore events leading up to the incident. Mr Gwozdzinski was taken off suicide watch just days before his death.

Guards from Mitie Care & Custody will give evidence about their supervision of Mr Gwozdzinski and nurses from Central & North West London NHS Foundation are expected to testify about the care they provided.

A fellow detainee previously told the press that Mr Gwozdzinski “was crying, begging for help from the guards, telling them to call an ambulance, that his mental health was an emergency.”

Inspectors visited Harmondsworth a month after his death and found “considerable failings” in the management of the centre.

Chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke highlighted the “inability of health services to meet the very high level of mental health need” among the detainees.

He also warned that some men had been held for “excessively long periods” — 23 of them detained for over a year and one man held for over four-and-a-half years.

Harmondsworth is Europe’s largest migrant detention centre. It holds up to 676 men indefinitely while the Home Office and courts decide their immigration status.

Mr Gwozdzinski, the youngest of seven brothers, was born in the remote town of Ciborz in west Poland. He had lived in Britain for five years.

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This will be the third inquest at West London coroner’s court so far this year concerning a detention centre death.

The hearings found that a series of failings contributed to the deaths of 64-year-old Tarek Chowdhury and 41-year-old Amir Siman-Tov, who died in 2016 at Colnbrook, a smaller detention centre next door to Harmondsworth.

*The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.

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