A coroner said yesterday it was a tragedy that it had taken six deaths before life-saving reforms were introduced at a women's prison in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Nicholas Rheinberg, the Cheshire coroner, was speaking at the end of the inquest into the death of Julie Bernadette Walsh, 39, from Liverpool, who was the latest of six women to die in Styal prison in 12 months. The jury found that Ms Walsh had died in August 2003 after swallowing a lethal dose of an antidepressant.

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