A TEENAGE killer who brutally murdered his friend in a stabbing was found dead in his cell after getting into debt, a report has said.

Luke Pearce was 17 when he carried out what a judge called a 'brutal, violent and sustained attack' on 29-year-old Michael Deary in Fareham.

Pearce stabbed Mr Deary three times in the back and twice in his arm and shoulder before stealing £300 cash and a tobacco pouch at Mr Deary's flat in Omaha Close on August 16, 2018.

Daily Echo: Murder victim Michael DearyMurder victim Michael Deary

Now a report has revealed Pearce hanged himself four years into a life sentence at HMP/YOI Swinfen Hall in Lichfield ahead of his 22nd birthday.

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman report said a recorded phone call between Pearce and a friend the night before showed nothing that indicated he was distressed or thinking about suicide.

READ MORE: Luke Pearce jailed over murder of Michael Deary in Fareham

Pearce had been a violent prisoner and had attacked guards and fellow inmates, and had previously been put on - and taken off - suicide prevention measures.

He had been sentenced to life with a minimum term of 17 years in January 2019 after admitting murder at Winchester Crown Court.

It was at 5.34am on April 6, 2023, that a guard saw through a crack in his door that he was hanged.

It took until 5.42am and for other guards to arrive before he was removed from the ligature and CPR was started. He was declared dead at 6.30am by paramedics.

The PPO report said: "Mr Pearce’s grandmother died in April 2022. The approaching anniversary of her death could have been a factor in Mr Pearce’s decision to end his life.

"We are satisfied that the prison provided appropriate support to Mr Pearce when his grandmother died and that he gave no indication that he was struggling in the lead up to the anniversary of her death.

"There were some indicators that Mr Pearce might have been involved in the drugs trade at Swinfen Hall.

"He discussed the movement of money during telephone calls to friends and selling vapes for drugs, he mentioned that he owed money, and he assaulted another prisoner who was known to be in debt."

Daily Echo: The Daily Echo's report on Pearce's sentencing.The Daily Echo's report on Pearce's sentencing. (Image: Newsquest)

It added: "Even if Mr Pearce was in debt, we found no evidence that he was being threatened or that it was causing Mr Pearce distress. It would appear from his telephone calls that he had access to funds so there was no indication that he was unable to repay his debt.

"There was no indication that Mr Pearce was at increased risk of suicide and self-harm due to his possible involvement in the drugs trade at Swinfen Hall."

Daily Echo: Police investigating Michael Deary's murder.Police investigating Michael Deary's murder. (Image: Newsquest)

'A delay could be critical'

The PPO report said it was not possible to know if the delay in giving CPR could have saved Pearce's life but added: "We know that in a medical emergency, a delay of a few minutes could be critical."

A separate coroner's inquest recorded Pearce died by hanging.

The report makes one recommendation to prisons following Pearce's death.

It said: "The Executive Director for Transforming Delivery and the Operational Security Group Director should ensure that relevant training and guidance equips staff to understand when and how to enter a cell in a medical emergency, including the priority that must be given to acting quickly to preserve life, whilst maintaining their own safety."

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