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Fraudster who died after swallowing ACID in court was allowed to bring flask into dock, inquest told

A serial fraudster who swallowed acid after being sentenced in court had been allowed to bring his flask into the dock.

Mark Marshall, 55, was being sentenced in Inner London Crown Court on April 29, 2019 for purchasing £77,000 worth of photography equipment with fake cheques and selling it to cash converters.

Shortly after he received a two and a half year prison sentence, he downed the corrosive substance.

He died in hospital two months later from his injuries.

A post-mortem investigation ruled that Marshall had died from multiple organ failure and damage to his oesophagus due to acid ingestion.

Conman Marc Marshall - who used several aliases - died after he swallowed acid while at court and had been allowed to bring the flask containing acid into the dock, an inquest heard

During the inquest, the conman has been described as a 'repeat offender' by his wife, as he had previously scammed high-profile sports figures, including Olympic athletes.

In 2016, he posed as an MI6 spy to dupe disgraced footballer Adam Johnson's family out of £170,000 after her was jailed for six years for intimately touching a girl of 15.

The family of the former Premier League star, who has now been released, allegedly made a stream of payments to a him - he then used the name Mark Hill-Wood - who promised he could unearth vital evidence in his favour. 

The inquest jury have also been made aware of Marshall's previous mental health issues. He was known to have a personality disorder and had stabbed himself in the neck after being admitted to police custody in 2016.

Marc Marchall (pictured with F1 driver David Coulthard during a trip to the Monaco Grand Prix) had a history of mental health issues, the jury was told during the inquest into his death 

The inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court has seen officers from SERCO, the contractor that supplies custody staff, face difficult questions over safety and security.

It is understood that Marshall had been allowed to bring his dark-coloured flask into the dock whilst awaiting sentencing, and had been handed it by a female dock officer.

According to the incident report form, the officer had 'placed this to one side and hadn't thought anything of it'.

Shortly after the sentencing, he had asked for the flask and was then 'screaming in pain' after ingesting the substance.

Marc Marshall was in the dock at Inner London Crown Court (pictured) when he poured the acid over himself and was heard 'screaming in pain' after ingesting it, the inquest heard

Pete Masters, the Head of Professional Standards at SERCO, had been present at the court at the time of the incident, and explained to the jury that possessions of the defendants were checked before they were admitted to the dock.

When asked by Senior Coroner Andrew Harris if the annual refresher training provided to custody staff had included liquid and food, he said: 'The sheer complexity of the detail from the standing operating procedure, it wouldn't be possible to cover every single element.'

He explained that at the time of the 'unfortunate incident', the policy had been to remove a defendant's possessions.

He said: 'Officers are trained to deal with any scenario with the deployment of interpersonal skills, communicating with the defendant or escalating the matter to bring other officers into the scene.'

The inquest is due to conclude on December 17.