Coroner recommends changes to cell procedures



Only RCMP members should be allowed to open cells holding prisoners.

That’s one of four recommendations following a coroner’s inquest into the double suicide of two Igloolik men who escaped police custody last year.

Igloolik RCMP arrested Malakai Attagutalukutuk, 26, and David Ulayak, 22, in connection with a series of break and enters in the community last April.

The two men were being held at the detachment cells when they escaped April 6. They were discovered dead in an abandoned house a short time later. They had hanged themselves.

The inquest was held in Igloolik July 17-19.

Submitting evidence by teleconference, the guard on duty at the time told the six-member jury that Ulayak had complained that the toilet in the cell was out of order.

Believing him, the guard unlocked the door and allowed him to use a toilet outside the cell, leaving Attagutalukutuk locked inside.

Upon his return, the guard opened the cell door at which time both men overpowered her and locked her inside. The escape occured between 11:45 P.M. and midnight, when the guard’s shift ended.

The jury recommended that the RCMP ensure guards receive training and are familiar with the requirements of the position.

It further recommended that there be at least two guards on duty when there are two or more prisoners in the cell at a time. The jury also suggested that a touch-tone phone be installed in the guard’s office.

All four of these recommendations are already part of RCMP policing policy, an Igloolik RCMP spokesman said.

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