A serial sex offender OAP serving a 20-year sentence for “depraved” offences against girls died in Hull Prison after refusing to shield against Covid-19, a report has revealed.

Ronald Carmichael, formerly of Grimsby, was convicted in February 2016 for one count of rape and 14 counts of indecent assault which were added to a 2011 conviction for seven offences of indecent assault.

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Carmichael denied the offences but was convicted by jury trial and was sentenced to 11 years to be served consecutively after the nine years he received in 2011.

Carmichael died in hospital in November 2020 after contracting Covid-19 and a report released by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has revealed that the 84-year-old had refused to shield because he was 'fed up' with Covid restrictions in the prison.

Ronald Carmichael was jailed for a 20 year sentence in 2016
Ronald Carmichael was jailed for a 20 year sentence in 2016

The report states that Ronald Carmichael died in hospital of Covid-19 pneumonia on November 15, 2020, while he was still a prisoner at HMP Hull.

The report notes that the 84-year-old's medical conditions put him at risk of becoming seriously ill if he contracted Covid-19 and in March and April 2020, prison healthcare staff explained this to him and advised him to shield.

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Although he initially followed the advice he changed his mind from May onwards until, in October, he contracted the virus and was transferred to hospital with breathing difficulties. He died two weeks later.

The report says: "Mr Carmichael had several long-term health conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD – the name for a collection of lung diseases), high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (which causes an irregular heartbeat), asthma and diabetes. He was obese, suffered from osteoarthritis and was a wheelchair user.

"Despite his medical conditions, Mr Carmichael’s health was relatively stable and, in the year before his death, he did not have much contact with healthcare staff except for routine matters, such as blood tests.

"Because of his medical history, Mr Carmichael was in the clinically vulnerable category and was at high risk of becoming seriously ill if he contracted Covid-19. He was advised of this in March and April 2020 and he agreed to follow the clinical guidance to shield.

"However, his prison notes show that on May 5, he asked to be removed from voluntary shielding.

"On 22 May, he was told in person about the dangers of not shielding, but he decided that he no longer wanted to shield and signed a disclaimer to indicate he was aware of the risks.

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"Mr Carmichael’s prison notes record regular welfare checks over the following months and that Mr Carmichael was a bit ‘fed up’ with the restricted regime in place due to Covid-19 precautions."

HMP Hull holds up to 1,056 men in ten wings and the City Healthcare Partnership provides health services at the prison with GP surgeries held four days a week and an out of hours service at other times.

Carmichael was the 11th prisoner at Hull to die since November 2018 at the time of the report. Of the previous deaths, four were from natural causes, five were self-inflicted, and one was from an unknown cause.

Hull Prison on Hedon Road
Hull Prison on Hedon Road

His death was the first from Covid-19 at Hull, although there have been two further deaths from coronavirus since.

Carmichael was jailed for nine years in 2011 after indecently assaulting two young girls – “ruining the life” of one and causing “extreme damage” to the other.

Aged 75 and residing at Walmsgate Walk in Grimsby at the time of his trial, he denied one offence of rape and seven of indecent assault.

He took advantage of the girls to indulge in sexual activity with them on a number of occasions. One of the girls had been left so traumatised by her ordeal that it was a long time before she felt able to report it and make an official complaint.

Recorder Euan Duff told Carmichael: “This was repeat sexual offending against two young girls aged then under 13. Your conduct and the damage you have caused is so serious that only a substantial custodial sentence is possible.

“Abuse of this type causes enormous damage to children who are abused.” He said of the first victim: “You have ruined her life.”

In 2016, Judge Kate Buckingham oversaw a second trial against Carmichael for offences against a total of five girls which represented a “course of conduct” over a number of years.

Nine of the offences in the second trial, including rape, were against one girl in Grimsby and involved a “prolonged course of sexual abuse”.

Carmichael told her to shut up and that nobody would believe her. “She felt disgusted and sick,” said Judge Buckingham. The girl had suffered “significant psychological harm” and her distress was obvious when she gave evidence to the jury.

“It had a profound and far-reaching effect upon her life,” added Judge Buckingham. Four other offences were against a second girl and two others were against a third.

Exterior of HMP Hull, Hedon Road, Hull
Exterior of HMP Hull, Hedon Road, Hull

Carmichael’s then home had been a “honeypot for young teenagers” and this made it easier for him to have access to the victims.

He had been asked to stop his behaviour on a number of occasions but was “persistent about it” during his “appalling offending“, said Judge Buckingham.

On October 29, 2020, Carmichael showed symptoms of Covid-19 and was feeling unwell with a cough and a fever, he was tested and isolated from other prisoners and staff.

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On the afternoon of October 30, Carmichael was found on the floor of his cell with breathing difficulties, staff called an ambulance and Carmichael was taken to hospital.

He was not restrained during the journey and at hospital it was confirmed that he had tested positive for Covid-19. Carmichael’s health progressively deteriorated in hospital and he died at 2.19pm on November 15.

The coroner accepted the cause of death provided by a hospital doctor and no post-mortem examination was carried out.

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The doctor gave Carmichael’s cause of death as Covid-19 pneumonia, and listed asthma, type 2 diabetes, heart failure, and ischaemic heart disease as contributory factors.

In conclusion the report said: "The clinical reviewer considered that the standard of care Mr Carmichael received at Hull was equivalent to that which he could have expected to receive in the community.

"However, we share the clinical reviewer’s concerns about the quality of entries made in Mr Carmichael’s medical record. After he showed symptoms of Covid-19 on October 29, there are no further entries in his prison medical records until October 31 when he was in hospital.

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"There are no records of clinical observations on the morning of 30 October, or of the incident on the afternoon of the same day when he was found on the floor of his cell and subsequently taken to hospital.

"This was very poor clinical practice. We recommend: the Head of Healthcare should ensure that staff make full and accurate entries in the prisoner’s medical record, including full details of the clinical observations taken and emergency incidents."

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