Stephen Bladen was serving a 21-year sentence for 30 offences of rape and sexual assault against young girls. The painter and decorator had been found guilty of 30 charges against five victims, going back to the 1980s. One of his victims was aged just four and he had also raped a girl, aged eight.
But Bladen protested his innocence right up until the days before he died – telling staff he was “in prison for crimes he hadn’t committed”.
He had been at Long Lartin Prison, a Category B jail near Evesham, Worcestershire, since March 2019, however he died on February 17 last year after becoming weaker and weaker.
His inquest on Thursday heard Bladen was diagnosed with diabetes in jail in January last year and refused treatment.
The paedophile even started legal proceedings to stop them treating him.
This involved getting lawyers to draw up a legal document – an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT) – which prevented doctors from treating him, as long as he had the mental capacity to know what he was doing.
And, after refusing insulin and stopping going for all his healthcare checks, Bladen eventually died of natural causes.
A treatment programme was drawn up for Bladen in jail, including regular doses of insulin and daily health checks, reports Birmingham Mail.
Bladen, though, told doctors he wanted to die.
Recording a verdict of death by natural causes on Thursday, Worcestershire Coroner, David Reid, said: “He told staff, ‘I don’t see any future for myself in prison, I might have many more years to serve unless I get an appeal’.
“He said: ‘I’ve got a miserable existence and I’m innocent and incarcerated for something I haven’t done.'”
Bladen, who was jailed in 2015 and moved to Long Lartin in 2019, attempted to end his life in a cell in the jail in January last year. Staff found him with a noose around his neck, threatening to kill himself, but guards stopped him from hanging himself.
But his condition deteriorated after his ADRT became legal.
However, Bladen’s wife, with whom he had a “strained relationship”, was against his decision and wanted him to have treatment, the court in Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, heard.
During his trial at Swansea Crown Court, the jury heard how Bladen’s offences spanned a 30-year period from the 1980s until he was arrested in 2015.
Bladen’s attacks on girls only came to light when one of his victims, now an adult, decided she could not remain quiet any longer and contacted police.
Four other victims of Bladen’s attacks came forward with similar accounts.