April 24, 2023 11.00 am This story is over 14 months old

Murderer who killed pregnant Lincoln woman died after prison medicine protest

Convicted of the brutal murder of Kim Newson

A man who murdered a pregnant Lincoln woman died in prison after refusing medical treatment.

Stephen Hughes used an axe to kill 18-year-old Kim Newson, who was five months pregnant, in 2002 in Monks Road flat.

He chopped her body up and dumped parts in the River Witham, although some were never found.

He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2003, and was later moved to the high-security HMP Full Sutton near York.

Hughes had a history of poor health, being diagnosed with hepatitis C, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and peripheral vascular disease throughout his life. He also had a heart attack in 2008.

A report into his death by the Prison & Probation Ombudsman says he refused to take insulin for long periods to protest his conditions and staff.

Photo: www.Foundation.org.uk/The National DNA Database

Hughes regularly went through a cycle of becoming very unwell and needing to be hospitalised.

A prison GP said that Hughes knew he was “cutting off his nose to spite his face”.

In 2014, he took an overdose of insulin because he was angry with staff, requiring further hospital treatment.

He also tried to bargain that he would take insulin in return for higher doses of painkillers.

In December 2019, Hughes told the prison pharmacy he would stop taking treatment until “pain relief was sorted out”, despite medical staff warning him of the dangers.

He appeared pale and weak, and was transferred to York Teaching Hospital on December 9, handcuffed to a prison officer with two other officers nearby.

He had previously escaped from a hospital escort on a previous sentence, and in 1996 he injured a court custody officer.

Despite his condition, he was still judged as a possible escape risk and “if given the opportunity would attempt to escape injuring anyone who got in the way”.

He was initially restrained in hospital, although these were removed as his condition deteriorated.

Hughes died on the night of December 19 / 20, 2019.

His cause of death was determined to be acute renal failure and sepsis due to the restriction of blood to lower limbs, which was contributed to by diabetes and vascular disease.

The ombudsman’s report says that Hughes was entitled to refuse treatment, and knew the risk of not taking medication.

However, it says there is “particular concern” about the use of restraints, given he was frail and unable to walk in hospital. 

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