The jury in the inquest into the death of Delilah Blair, 30, continues in Windsor.
Warning: Contains graphic content.
On at least two occasions, Blair asked, in writing to talk to her mother in the Northwest Territories from the Southwest Detention Center (SWDC).
“Can I please phone my mother?” Blair writes in a note dated May 7, 2017. “I need someone to talk to. Please and thanks.”
In another, written request, Blair asks to speak with her mother, Selina McInytre “to see how she is doing”. That note is dated May 16.
The jury has heard evidence those calls were not placed and Blair didn’t have any visitors to the SWDC while she was incarcerated.
Blair died by suicide in her cell on May 21, 2017.
Evidence was presented in the inquest indicating Blair ripped her jail-issued bedsheet into strips, tied it into knots and hung herself from the bookcase in her cell.
Included in the exhibit titled “inmate requests”, Blair also asked for her street clothes for her upcoming sentencing on a robbery conviction, requested access to bible studies and school work.
Blair also requested on April 22, to see the jail doctor writing “I need mood stabilizers because I’m going crazy! My moods are all out of control.”
The requests are just some of the paperwork submitted to the jury for consideration. They are tasked with creating recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.
Lawyers have also presented reports on Blair by jail staff, including an Inmate Observation Sheet.
Between April 4 when she was admitted and May 21, when she died, Blair’s actions range from “odd” to “quiet” and even “unstable”.A Corrections Officer inside the Southwest Detention Center checks on the well-being of Delilah Blair on May 21, 2017. The image is a still frame of surveillance footage shown to a jury during the inquest into Blair’s death. (Courtesy: Coroner’s Office)
The sheet also includes a notation “extremely unstable from good mood to bad mood on a moments notice.”
One day, Blair is noted as having a good day, talking appropriately with staff.
But the next, Blair is described as argumentative and refusing to attend court hearings.
On April 20, Blair allegedly covered the window of her cell door, threw fruit at the window and threatened to throw a bodily fluid at officers if she didn’t get “real food”.
The next day, officers found a screw in her cell and she spoke with a psychiatrist.
Shortly there after, Blair was transferred out of the female mental health unit, and placed in segregation for 10 days.
When she returned to the female mental health unit, staff noted no serious problems with Blair, writing “no issues” throughout the month of May.
On two occasions, Blair was locked in her call because of staff shortages.
Another exhibit is an Inmate Care Plan which was written in January 2017, but lawyers have yet to tell the jury why Blair was incarcerated for one day.
In it, the author noted Blair should be monitored for depression, anxiety and psychosis.
Selina McIntyre lives in Hay River, North West Territories. Her daughter Delilah Blair died after being an inmate at the Southwest Detention Center. (CTV NewsWindsor)
Corrections Officer Denis Dupuis testified Thursday its “uncommon” for officers to read through paperwork like the Inmate Care Plan, nor would they search up an inmates historical details while in their care.
“We rely more on verbal communications (between CO’s AT shift change),” Dupuis testified.
He also told the jury he was unaware of Blair’s status as indigenous person.
Dupuis was the second CO to attempt to save Blair’s life.
He told the jury he removed the bedsheet from the bookcase, told his partner, Corrections Officer James Wright to put her onto her bed to begin CPR.
Dupuis told the jury he quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be effective and they placed her on the floor to try to revive her.
During a break in the inquest proceedings, Dupuis approached the family of Delilah Blair and offered a heartfelt apology to her mother, Selina McIntyre.
Dupuis agreed with Inquest Counsel Jonathan Lall that having more information is always better when taking care of inmate, but he noted, he didn’t think anything could have prevented Blair’s death.
“I don’t see how you could avoid it if someone is determined to harm themselves,” Dupuis testified. “I’ve witnessed people jump off a sink, head first. I’ve witnessed people stab themselves with a pencil. There’s many ways people attempt to hurt themselves.”