Terror accused died in jail nine days after arrest

A terror suspect alleged to have been inspired by Guy Fawkes was found dead in his prison cell nine days after his arrest, an inquest heard.

Benjamin Hyland, 29, died at HMP Leeds on 11 December 2022, having been charged with 11 offences under the Terrorism Act.

At a court hearing before his death, it was claimed he had purchased chemicals with the intention of producing explosives and had tried to make a 3D-printed gun.

His partner said she believed being unable to speak to his young son from prison had been a factor in Mr Hyland's death.

A jury inquest at Wakefield Coroner's Court earlier on Monday was told that Mr Hyland was arrested on 2 December 2022 after police raided his home in Leeds.

He spent seven days in custody before being remanded in HMP Leeds on 9 December, the inquest heard.

At an initial court hearing after his arrest, prosecutors said Mr Hyland was believed to have been "gathering information and material to advance his terrorist ideology of seeking to defeat the government" and had "praised Guy Fawkes for his use of gunpowder".

'Final straw'

A written statement from his partner, which was read to the inquest, said Mr Hyland was originally from Devon and moved to Leeds in his early twenties.

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He spent several years living on the city's streets, the statement said, before finding accommodation in Beeston and getting a job on a farm.

His partner said he "would not have been able to cope" in prison, adding: "I found out that social services had told Ben he wasn't allowed to speak to the children due to the emotional effect this might have on them.

"I think that this was the final straw for Ben."

The inquest was told that despite deliberately banging his head against his cell door while in custody on 7 December, Mr Hyland was not deemed to have been at high risk of self-harm.

The court was told he insisted it was an "isolated" incident due to feeling frustrated.

Giving evidence, a prison reception officer said Mr Hyland had appeared unusually "outgoing and jovial" for a first-time prisoner and nothing about his behaviour raised any concerns.

The inquest is expected to conclude on Tuesday.

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