Terry Ojuederie’s Christmas presents were waiting to be wrapped on the living room floor when his partner got a knock at the door from officials bringing the news that he was dead.
The 42-year-old father had been beaten to death using a flat screen television by his cellmate at HMP Peterborough, just two weeks before he was due to be released.
“We had made all the plans,” says his partner, Hayley Spencer-Tucker. “Because he was just missing Christmas we were going to have our Christmas Day when he got out.
“It was absolutely devastating, and it still is, to think about the future we could have had.”
Mr Ojuederie had four children and a four-year-old grandson, who will not remember his grandfather.
An inquest identified a catalogue of failings that contributed to his death, including the failure to identify his future killer as a risk, allowing synthetic cannabinoid spice to become “rife” at HMP Peterborough and leaving officers unable to deal with affected inmates.
Mr Ojuederie’s relatives fear more lives will be lost if private contractor Sodexo and other prison authorities do not make urgent changes.
“We can’t bring Terry back but I’m hoping that this process may save someone else’s life in the future,” Ms Spencer-Tucker said.
“The prison system needs to sort itself out. I know it’s a hard process but something needs to be done because I am worried for other prisoners, especially vulnerable people being locked up with the likes of his killer around Spice.”
Mr Ojuederie’s sister, Jenny Tucholski, said their father and brothers are still struggling to come to terms with his brutal death.
“They all say prisons are underfunded and understaffed and seem to think that’s acceptable but it’s not – this will absolutely happen again,” she added.
“His youngest girls, who are only seven and 11, now face a life of growing up without their father.
“They love and miss him very much and, due to their…