Oxley police say Tane Chatfield's death at correctional centre was 'not suspicious'

POLICE say the death of an Aboriginal inmate in custody at Tamworth Correctional Centre is not being treated as suspicious.

Tane Chatfield, 22, was rushed to Tamworth hospital on September 20 after he was found unresponsive in a cell that morning.

He was taken to hospital for a medical issue in the 24-hours prior to his death, but was cleared and returned to a cell in the prison.

Tributes flow: Tane Chatfield died in hospital while in custody. Photo: Supplied

Tributes flow: Tane Chatfield died in hospital while in custody. Photo: Supplied

It’s also understood prison officers performed CPR on the inmate. He died in hospital two days later.

Mr Chatfield was being held in custody on robbery charges from an alleged incident involving a firearm in Armidale in September, 2015.

He was part way through a trial in Armidale District Court on the day he was found unresponsive.

Judge Deborah Payne was told about the incident and adjourned the trial until October. Mr Chatfield was also due to face trial in Tamworth on three robbery-related charges in late-October.

On Monday, Oxley police confirmed local detectives attended the prison after the incident.

“This is standard protocol for any death, detectives attend the scene and conduct inquiries,” Detective Acting Inspector Jason Darcy said.

The death is not being treated as suspicious and report will be prepared for the coroner.

Oxley Detective Acting Inspector Jason Darcy

Corrective Services NSW earlier confirmed the Corrective Services Investigation Unit was conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death.

Since the death, hundreds of tributes have been posted for the 22-year-old, who has family ties in Armidale and Tamworth.

Social media call: One of the photos posted to The Leader.

Social media call: One of the photos posted to The Leader.

The hashtag #JusticeforTane and #Blacklivesmatter is trending on social media with his family and friends, as well as supporters, calling for justice for the father-of-one. A protest was also held outside the prison on the weekend.

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) reiterated its call for “a fundamental rethink of the criminal justice system in New South Wales”.

“The latest death in custody is a reminder of the need for better partnerships between the criminal justice system and Aboriginal organisations and for community-centred alternatives to prison,” Chair Roy Ah-See and Councillor for Northern Region Charles Lynch said. 

“Our thoughts and hearts go out to the young man’s family at this time.”

All deaths in custody are reviewed by the NSW Coroner at inquest.

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