A prisoner was found hanged in his cell less than a week after coming out of suicide watch, an inquest heard.

Alun Jones, 26, was found hanged in his cell on May 17 2007 a couple of days after being transferred to a single cell, the jury at Woking Coroners’ Court heard.

He had been arrested after attempting to commit suicide by setting his parents’ home in Portslade, West Sussex, alight and stabbing himself in the head and stomach.

After being remanded in custody at High Down Prison, in Sutton, on April 11, 2007, Mr Jones was put under a prison care planning system called Assessment, Care in Custody, and Teamwork (ACCT), on April 20, because he was deemed to be at risk of self-harm.

However he was taken off the ACCT on May 11 and was considered to have made good progress and to be well enough to be moved to a single cell.

Mr Jones, who had a five-year-old son, had suffered a long history of episodic depression, alcohol and other substances abuse and had tried to kill himself at least twice before the incident that led to his arrest, his GP’s report, read out in court, said.

Donna Beard, the psychiatric nurse who assessed Mr Jones’ condition at Brighton Magistrates’ Court, flagged him as being at “high risk” of trying to self harm or commit suicide again, if taken into custody.

Giving evidence at the inquest, she said: “On the morning I saw him he said he was going to look for help. I classified him as a medium risk if he was bailed that day or not remanded in custody.

“I also assessed him as being high risk if he was remanded into custody.”

The psychiatric nurse heard from Mr Jones when assessing him that on all the occasions he tried to commit suicide he had had alcohol.

Mr Jones’ mother Leslie, also a witness in the inquest, said she received a couple of letters from him while he was at High Down and that on the second one she received, he seemed to be in higher spirits after she told him the family was not mad at him for setting the house on fire.

“I told him he was and always would be my precious son and that nothing would change that,” said Mrs Jones.

The inquest continues.

• Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide. They can be contacted by phone on 020 8681 6666 or visit www.samaritans.org to find your local branch.