Murderer died after catching Covid at 'Monster Mansion' in Wakefield

A convicted murderer who was being held at HMP Wakefield died after catching Covid-19.

By Nathan Hyde
Monday, 4th April 2022, 8:29 am
Convicted killer Thomas Wolens was being held at HMP Wakefield
Convicted killer Thomas Wolens was being held at HMP Wakefield

Thomas Wolens died in hospital on February 23 last year, according to the The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO).

The 67-year-old spent time at several prisons after he was convicted of murder and robbery in January 1988 and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 14 years.

He fell ill in his cell at the prison, which is known as Monster Mansion because it holds so many notorious criminals, 14 days after he was transferred from HMP Frankland, where he had been living on a dedicated wing for personality disorder treatment.

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The PPO said he was clinically vulnerable to Covid, as he had suffered with type 2 diabetes and heart problems, but he tested negative for Covid twice after his transfer.

The convicted killer’s condition deteriorated after he was admitted to hospital and he asked staff to remove his continuous positive airway pressure mask, shortly before his death.

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A PPO report said: “We cannot say where Mr Wolens contracted Covid-19.

“His symptoms began 14 days after his transfer from HMP Frankland to Wakefield, on the cusp of the accepted incubation period.

“He could therefore have been exposed to the virus at either of the prisons, or in transit.

"We consider that Mr Wolens should have been formally notified of his clinical vulnerability to Covid-19 and the policy on shielding.

“Additionally, his next of kin should have been informed sooner of his diagnosis and that he had been taken to hospital.

“We are concerned that Wakefield was unable to provide the risk assessment and other escort documents covering Mr Wolens final journey and stay in hospital. We were therefore unable to investigate the propriety of the escort arrangements.”

He is the 25th HMP Wakefield inmate who has died since February 2019. Two of those deaths were suicides and the others died from natural causes.