Nova Scotia

Camille Strickland-Murphy dies at Nova Institution for Women in Truro

An inmate died Tuesday night at the Nova Institute for Women in Truro police said Wednesday morning. Camille Strickland-Murphy, 22, is from St. John's, N.L.

Camille Strickland-Murphy is 2nd inmate, and Newfoundland woman, to die at prison this year

Camille Strickland-Murphy is shown in provincial court in St. John's. The woman died Tuesday night at the Nova Institute for Women in Truro. (CBC)

The inmate who died at Nova Institution for Women on Tuesday night is St. John's resident Camille Strickland-Murphy.

The 22-year-old was found unresponsive in her cell.

Laurie Bernard, a spokesperson for the prison, says staff performed CPR and called emergency services, but she could not be resuscitated.   

Strickland-Murphy was serving a three-year sentence for the armed robbery of a Shoppers Drug Mart in Newfoundland in 2014. She had drug and alcohol addictions as well as mental illness, corrections officials in Newfoundland noted during one of her court appearances.

In 2012, Strickland-Murphy asked for a federal sentence to get help for serious mental health issues, including panic attacks and anxiety that she self-medicated with drugs and alcohol.

Strickland-Murphy had robbed a woman outside a St. John's bank while holding a knife to her throat. She also forged a prescription and stole a car. It was the first time she had ever been in trouble with the law.

At the time, her lawyer Peter Ralph described her as an intelligent woman with many challenges.

Similarly last year, Strickland-Murphy asked for a federal prison term to get the help she needed.

Truro Police Insp. Rob Hearn says Correctional Services Canada alerted them on Tuesday night about a sudden death at the prison. Police are investigating to determine if it's a criminal offence. 

Strickland-Murphy is the second inmate to die this year while in custody at the Nova Institute for Women in Truro. (CBC)

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Bernard says Stricklan-Murphy's next of kin have been notified of her death.

It's the second death of an inmate at the Truro women's prison this year.

In April, Veronica Park died in a Truro hospital. The woman, also from Newfoundland, was serving a three-year sentence at the Nova Institution for Women for robbery and breach of recognizance.

The circumstances surrounding her death have still not been released.

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