UK prisons
File photo: General view shows Doncaster Prison, northern England Darren Staples/ Reuters

A transgender woman placed in a men's prison has been found dead in her cell, in a suspected suicide.

Jenny Swift, 49, was held in custody at the category B prison, HMP Doncaster, despite allegedly requesting to be placed in a women's prison. Her death on 30 December is the third apparent suicide of a transgender woman in a men's prison in just over a year.

A friend of Swift's told the Sheffield Star the prison had not provided Swift with the female hormones she had been taking for three years, and she had walked into the prison naked after refusing to wear men's clothing, The Guardian reported.

"She kept asking for the hormones and they said she would get them but she never did. I phoned up and explained that she needed them too," her friend, who wished to remain anonymous, told the newspaper.

"Jenny said that not having them was making her legs shake, making her feel sad and ill – she said it was like coming off drugs. It made her miserable.

"She had been trying her best to keep her feminine side but she mentioned in prison that she could feel the testosterone in her body and she felt sick. It was making her cringe inside, If she had her hormones and the correct tablets she would still be here. I know that for certain."

Swift is believed to have requested a move to a women's prison, with a source claiming this was under discussion at the time of her death.

Swift was initially charged with attempted murder on 17 November for the stabbing of Eric Flanagan, 26, who died from his injuries on 15 December, and Swift's charge was to be upgraded to murder.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed it was aware Swift was a transgender woman when she was placed in HMP Doncaster.

An MoJ spokesperson said: "Self-inflicted deaths are a tragedy and mental health in custody is taken extremely seriously.

"We have a range of measures already in place to help support prisoners suffering from these issues. But we recognise more can be done.

"That is why we have allocated more funding for prison safety and have launched a suicide and self-harm reduction project to address the increase in self-inflicted deaths and self-harm in our prison."