AN INMATE in the high-security wing of Townsville Correctional Centre has died following a fist fight inside the prison.
Early investigations suggest two prisoners from the secure unit became involved in a brawl in the exercise yard about 10.50am yesterday, before one of the inmates, identified as Ashley Gavenor, 48, fell over and died soon afterwards.
It is understood guards rushed to Gavenor's aid, but he could not be revived and was pronounced dead in the exercise yard. Townsville detectives arrived at the Stuart prison to guard the scene and begin early investigations, while they waited for the Corrective Services Investigation Unit to arrive late yesterday afternoon to take over the scene.
CSIU Acting detective Inspector Rosemary Walker said four investigators from her unit would be in Townsville to investigate the death, but the cause of Gavenor's death may not be known until after an autopsy has been conducted.
"There's been an altercation between two prisoners, but there's a bit of a separation (after the fight) before the deceased collapses," Insp Walker said.
"It's probably only a matter of 30-odd seconds (before Gavenor collapsed after the incident).
"We can't really speculate on what's caused his death, but preceding his death there has been an altercation, but we are going to be relying on an autopsy and witness statements.
"We don't know about his pre-existing health conditions or anything like that, so all of that will be examined."
Insp Walker said the CSIU investigated all deaths in custody.
"We will interview all of the officers involved in the incident and all the prisoners will be interviewed as well," he said.
A Queensland Corrective Services spokesman confirmed the death and said staff found Gavenor unconscious.
"Queensland Corrective Services can confirm a prisoner was found unconscious by staff, after an alleged physical assault incident involving another prisoner at the Townsville Correctional Centre," the spokesman said.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.