A prison inmate who was awaiting trial for a murder in Croydon died after swallowing a package of cocaine and methadone he was trying to smuggle into the prison, an inquest found. 

Stephen Weatherley, 41, died due to the combined toxic effect of the drugs in his stomach, an inquest at Inner South London Coroner’s Court concluded in May 2023. 

Weatherley was remanded in HMP Thameside after he was charged with murdering Tino Makwanya, who was shot dead on June 11, 2017. 

On February 23, 2018, the day before he died, Weatherley’s girlfriend and sister visited him in prison. 

During the visit, CCTV showed his girlfriend moving her hand from her chest area to her pocket.

When she gave him a hug he put his hand in the pocket then to his mouth. 

Alarmed officers strip searched him but found nothing, so they suspected that his girlfriend had put the items back into her bra. 

His girlfriend and sister were not searched and police were not called. 

Weatherley later spoke with his girlfriend on the phone and said “I had to swallow” and “I hope it was wrapped properly”. 

At 7am Weatherley’s cellmate rang their cell bell twice as he was lying on the floor fitting. 

Weatherley’s cellmate told paramedics he had swallowed 3.5 grams of cocaine and had then drunk illicit prison alcohol known as hooch to try to bring the drugs up. 

Weatherley, from Thornton Heath, was pronounced dead at 8.46am. 

Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Sue McAllister said: “I am satisfied that staff had no reason to believe that Mr Weatherley had swallowed drugs, and that there was, therefore, no reason for them to consider that he was at risk or to arrange for him to be monitored.” 

However, she raised concerns that when Weatherley’s cell bell was rang by his cellmate it was not answered for 25 minutes and had to be rung a second time, by which point Weatherley had become very unwell. 

Ms McAllister said: “The clinical reviewer has concluded that the outcome is likely to have been the same for Mr Weatherley even if staff had responded immediately to his cell bell. Nevertheless, the delay was unacceptable and could be critical in future cases. 

“I am also concerned that there was an unacceptably long delay of 16 minutes in getting the paramedics from the prison gate to Mr Weatherley’s cell, and that Mr Weatherley’s family was not told of his death until over 36 hours after he had died.” 

Your Local Guardian: Tino Makwanya, who was murdered in Croydon in 2017Tino Makwanya, who was murdered in Croydon in 2017 (Image: Metropolitan Police)

Weatherley had been charged with murdering Tino Makwanya and had been in prison since June 24, 2017. 

The shooting took place on a busy junction right by Croydon Police Station.  

Weatherley was allegedly the driver of a motorbike carrying Mahad Ibrahim as a pillion passenger, who then shot twice at 24-year-old Tino who was sitting in a car. 

Ibrahim was found guilty of murder. The Metropolitan Police’s Detective Inspector Steve Keogh said: "The judge, HHJ Goose, indicated that he believed Weatherley would also have been convicted.” 

Your Local Guardian: Mahad Ibrahim who was convicted of Tino's murderMahad Ibrahim who was convicted of Tino's murder (Image: Metropolitan Police)

DI Keogh said: “Ibrahim and the deceased Stephen Weatherley carried out this disgusting murder like something they had seen from a Hollywood film; riding on a motorbike and executing Tino at a busy road junction, just yards from Croydon Police Station. 

“Of the two shots he fired, one missed the car he was shooting at and could quite easily have hit an innocent member of the public." 

While a motive for the attack remains unclear, detectives strongly believe that Tino was not the intended target.