Breanna Kannick was weak, asking for help before death in custody, inmates told police in interviews

A coroner's inquest is being held in Regina into death of Breanna Kannick, who died at the White Birch Remand Unit on Aug. 20, 2015.

Transcripts from police interviews with fellow inmates read to jury at coroner's inquest

Breanna Kannick died in custody at the White Birch Remand Unit on Aug. 20, 2015. Police interviews with some of her fellow inmates were presented to the jury on Wednesday at the inquest into her death. (CBC)

Breanna Kannick was sick, weak and called "pukey" by staff at the jail where she later died, according to interviews fellow inmates gave to police which were presented on Wednesday at the inquest into her death.

Kannick died in a cell at the White Birch Remand Unit in Regina on Aug. 20, 2015. 

A coroner's inquest is being held to determine the manner and cause of her death. On Wednesday, transcripts of three police interviews with women who were on remand with Kannick when she died were read aloud to jurors.

A nurse who was on duty at the time of her death, as well as correctional workers, previously testified that Kannick was suffering opioid withdrawal, but according to a nurse — who also called herself an "advocate" for Kannick and other inmates — Kannick's symptoms did not raise any red flags.

In the interview transcripts read at the inquest Wednesday, jurors heard Kannick was asking for help, saying she was too weak to get up and telling staff she wanted to go to the hospital.

They also heard jail staff apparently told Kannick she would get over it and recalled seeing staff stand by her cell, holding their nose. 

'She was sick'

Former inmate Janice Goforth was interviewed at around 4:30 p.m. on the day of Kannick's death. 

She told police Kannick was sick, didn't seem to be eating and was throwing up.

"She was sick. She couldn't even make it to the toilet.… She was using the garbage-bag basket," according to the interview transcript.

"So the guards had to take the bags out. Like, there was two frickin' bags of puke she practically filled up. I think they should have took her to the hospital, to be honest."

Police also interviewed a woman named Kaitlynd Cronley-Pollkinghorne, who described Kannick as looking weak, underweight and pale. 

"She was leaning on the walls and stuff.… very quiet and kind of couldn't, wouldn't speak for herself."

'They could care less'

According to interview transcripts, Cronley-Pollkinghorne said Kannick hardly left her room during her stay at White Birch, emerging only once or twice for medication and to talk to a nurse. 

"They could care less," she said of the jail staff. "From what I seen there is, like, neglect and [it was] completely preventable."

She also recalled hearing employees call Kannick "pukey," and told police a story of once being reprimanded by staff who threatened to separate her and another inmate, saying one would be placed with "pukey."

Cronley-Pollkinghorne told police a nurse on duty "sloughed off" Kannick, "who did need help."

Told to get up off floor

Tiffany Aphany told police she spent one night in remand at White Birch and exchanged a smile with Kannick when they were in a common area. 

Around 7:10 on the morning of Kannick's death, Aphany said she was returning from the shower when Kannick made a "loud noise" and fell on her cell floor. 

On Tuesday, jurors were shown a short surveillance clip of Kannick falling and hitting her head on a shelf, then the floor, where she lay on her back until the video was shut off. 

Despite the fall being recorded, the jury previously heard staff did not see her fall. 

In her interview with police, Aphany said staff told Kannick to get off the floor. 

"She said she can't and they told her yeah, she could, because she threw herself on the floor. She could get herself off the floor."

The inquest continues Thursday at 9:30 a.m. It's expected to conclude Friday.