An ‘extraordinary’ number of detainees are referred to mental health hospitals from the Verne on Portland, it was said. 

A leading psychiatrist spoke out about the magnitude of detainees who suffer mental illnesses whilst in immigration detention during an inquest into the death of Tome Kirungi, 30, found hanged in his cell on August 6, 2015. 

The jury inquest continued in Dorchester yesterday. 

Dr Nicholas Kosky, who visited several patients at the immigration removal centre, said: “There was an enormous volume of people with serious mental health issues. 

“We transferred more people to mental health hospitals from the Verne than any other place we worked in and 22 people were sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2015, which is extraordinary.”

He added that the rate of non-attendance to appointments in the Verne was around 30 per cent.

Dr Kosky visited Mr Kirungi on four occasions during his time at the Verne. The inquest heard on Monday that Mr Kirungi was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2007.

Dr Kosky said: “He was a complex case. On my last visit to him on July 29 he was quite down cast, but by the end of the interview he was smiling. I asked him if he had ideas about suicide and he said he didn’t have any.” 

“I was really upset when I heard about Mr Kirungi’s death. I did not see it coming. Although we were aware he had a history of self harm, recent visits showed no sign of intent.” 

The jury heard yesterday that Mr Kirungi put in an appeal against his deportation in July 2014, but a full hearing had not been held by the time of his death in 2015. 

The inquest continues today.