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Paedophile headmaster died in ‘severe pain’, inquest hears

Pictured in 2010, Derek Slade being led into court
Pictured in 2010, Derek Slade being led into court

A paedophile headmaster who died while serving a 21 year sentence for sexually abusing boys was bed bound and in severe pain in the lead up to his death, an inquest heard.

Derek Alan Slade, 66, was put behind bars in 2010 for a string of offences against 12 boys aged between eight and 13 at St George’s School in Wicklewood Norfolk, which later moved to Great Finborough in Suffolk.

Pictured in 2010, Derek Slade being led into court
Pictured in 2010, Derek Slade being led into court

Slade had a number of health problems including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and liver disease and died at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) on March 2 this year.

Norfolk Coroner’s Court heard how Slade turned yellow in the moments before his death where he suffered a “sudden and unexpected” cardiac arrest.

He was not handcuffed at the time because of his age and illness and was due to be transported back to HMP Norwich that day before his health suddenly deteriorated.

In a statement read to the court by Assistant Coroner Johanna Thompson one of the prison officers who was with Slade at the time said he had been “restless and quite demanding”.

The statement by prison officer Paul Little said: “At 2.45pm I noticed Mr Slade had quietened down and started to rest, it looked like he was going to sleep.

“About five minutes his skin was yellowing slightly looking almost jaundice.”

The court heard how moments later Slade wasn’t breathing and medics were called in to the room and started CPR and he lost consciousness.

A statement from Dr Martin Phillips, a Gastroenterology and Hepatology consultant at NNUH, said Slade’s final admission to the hospital was on February 16.

He said Slade had a 20 year history of type 2 diabetes and he had first been admitted to the hospital back in 2012 with congestive cardiac failure.

Slade had been admitted to the hospital 28 times throughout his time in prison mainly due to needing blood transfusions.

Dr Phillip’s statement added: “He had been feeling unwell for two weeks prior to admission with persistent vomiting.”

The inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Friday also heard how Slade had been in “severe pain” and died from long term liver damage and heart disease.

Slade also had a “poor compliance” with his diabetic diet, would skip meals and would refuse insulin which caused his blood sugar levels to be high and worsen his health problems.

Doctors had decided a liver transplant was not an option for him and Slade had been bed bound for “some months” prior to his death at 2.55pm on March 2.

The inquest heard how his death was unavoidable and he had received a “high level of medical care” throughout his time in prison where he had been moved to the elderly wing with 24-hour health care.

Assistant Coroner Johanna Thompson ruled that Slade died of natural causes and offered her condolences to his family.

She said: “I would like to offer my condolences to Mr Slade’s family and thank the prison staff for coming here today.”

Slade, who was born in Southampton, also suffered with high cholesterol and his medical cause of death was given as liver cirrhosis, ischaemic heart disease, chronic renal failure and diabetes mellitus.

None of Slade’s family were present at the 30 minute hearing on Friday.

In September 2010 Ipswich Crown Court found Slade guilty of abusing boys at private schools in Wicklewood, Norfolk, and Great Finborough, in Suffolk, between 1978 and 1983.

The paedophile admitted 16 charges of making indecent images of children and possession of almost 4,500 indecent images of children.

Slade also admitted 20 offences of indecent assault and assault and was given a 21-year sentence.

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