Erlestoke prisoner Dan Smith hanged himself in his cell because of a sense of hopelessness about his prospects of being released from his indeterminate jail sentence, an inquest jury has decided.

After seven days of evidence at the Wiltshire coroner’s court in Salisbury, the jury agreed Mr Smith, 25, had hanged himself from a bedsheet in his cell on February 4, 2010, because he had just been de-selected from a training programme that might have led to his release.

Summing up to the jury, Wiltshire coroner David Ridley said the former painter and decorator from Brighton had been convicted of a crime, which was not referred to during the inquest, and sent to prison on an indeterminate public protection (IPP) sentence with the ‘tariff’ of 18 months, which normally means he would be considered for release in 12 months. By the time of his death he had served 36 months.

He first served 18 months in Lewes jail and was transferred to Erlestoke on August 8, 2008, so he could take a training course that might convince the Parole Board to agree to his release.

But it was discovered he was not eligible for the enhanced thinking skills programme and he was instead put on the 12-steps course to tackle substance abuse.

He managed to get hold of drugs in the prison and this led to his de-selection just a few weeks before he was due before the parole board.

His mother, Linda, was seriously concerned for his welfare because he was so depressed, particularly in the lead-up to the anniversary of his father’s death on January 30. She made the prison aware of this but the information was not logged.

Mr Smith was identified as a prisoner of concern and his cell was monitored several times a night. He was checked at about 9pm on February 3 and was seen to be all right. But when he was checked again shortly after 2am, he was found hanging.

The jury said Mr Smith’s underlying anxiety and depression contributed to his actions.

Mr Ridley said he was going to write to the National Offender Management Service to point out the frustration felt by Mr Smith being moved from Lewes to take part in a programme for which he was not suitable.

In a statement after the inquest, Mr Smith’s mother said: “It has been three years and four months since Dan’s death. I am happy with the verdict and I would like to thank the coroner and jury for their work on Dan’s case.

“I would not want this to happen to anyone else. I hope some good can come out of it and someone else’s life can be saved. Dan struggled with his IPP sentence and lost all hope of release. I hope that does not happen to other prisoners.”

Andy Rogers, governor or Erlestoke Prison, said: “Our sympathy is with Dan’s family. I am grateful the coroner recorded that the staff at Erlestoke did everything possible to support this young man with a chaotic lifestyle.

“We are winning the battle against drugs and we review our monitoring process as a matter of course every year.”