A sex offender who fell ill in prison and later died in
hospital received appropriate care behind bars, an
Charles Alfred Martin Cunningham, 68, died at Christchurch
Hospital last October after a long history of health
The obese diabetes sufferer was jailed for nine years by
Justice Graham Panckhurst at the High Court in Christchurch
in 2005 for a string of sexual violation and indecency
During his time as a minimum security prisoner at Rolleston
Prison he suffered from a number of illnesses which he
received treatment for, an inquest into his death heard
In 2008, he was hospitalised with acute abdominal pain, which
flared up again in 2009 and 2011.
Last July he was taken to Christchurch Hospital by ambulance
with severe abdominal pain and diagnosed with acute
Cunningham was discharged a few weeks later, only to be
readmitted on August 18.
He underwent surgery and intensive therapy but his condition
continued to deteriorate, the inquest heard.
After life support was discontinued, Cunningham died in the
presence of his family in the hospital's ICU on October 24,
Senior constable Paul Hughes told the inquest police were
satisfied there was no criminal liability or suspicious
circumstances surrounding the death.
Department of Corrections inspector Trevor Longmuir came to
the same conclusions.
Cunningham had received "appropriate" health support at
Rolleston Prison, he found.
Coroner Richard McElrea said he will issue written findings
in coming weeks.
"I'm satisfied this was a natural death incidental to Mr
Cunningham being in prison and I accept the opinion of Mr
Longmuir that the level of medical treatment and care was
consistent and appropriate."
- By Kurt Bayer of APNZ