• Makayla Reynolds and Taleah Reynolds, the sisters of Nathan Reynolds. (AAP)Source: AAP
An inquest into the death in custody of Nathan Reynolds has heard that a nurse and a prison officer walked to the Anaiwan man rather than running, despite knowing he was unresponsive and struggling to breath.
23 Oct 2020 - 4:33 PM  UPDATED 23 Oct 2020 - 4:33 PM

A nurse and prison officer walked to an inmate they knew was unresponsive and struggling to breath, a Sydney inquest has heard.

Nathan Reynolds, 36, died from an asthma attack at South Windsor prison's minimum-security wing on August 31, 2018.

The inquest has heard theĀ Anaiwan man called for assistance at 11.27pm, but guards only arrived 12 minutes later.

The Coroners Court was shown footage on Friday of night senior, John Phali, walking alongside the prison's only registered nurse, Casey Wright, through the jail complex to Mr Reynolds.

"I said 'we need to hurry' but she said 'we don't run'," Mr Phali said when asked why he was walking.

Mr Phali said he would not have run anyway because it was dark and the path was uneven.

At this point, Mr Phali had been told Mr Reynolds was unresponsive and had earlier been told the inmate had difficulty breathing.

He performed CPR on Mr Reynolds but the inmate later died.

The inquest heard a triple-zero call for an ambulance made by an officer at 11.48pm. The ambulance arrived at 12.14am.

On the call, the officer is asked the inmate's name, age, and whether he is breathing or conscious, but does not know the answers.

The officer gave evidence Mr Phali instructed him to call the ambulance only when the night senior and nurse arrived on the scene.

Call logs show the ambulance tried to contact the prison later, but one call went to a fax machine and another went to a voicemail.

The officer speculated that he might have been assisting the ambulance to enter the facility at the time and was unable to answer the phone, but insisted he gave the triple-zero operator the correct phone numbers for the prison.

Officers at the prison are not allowed to carry mobile phones.

Mr Phali said that after a subsequent death in custody the prison purchased three portable phones to allow them to call ambulances for incidents after hours, but nine months after the phones were obtained they have not been commissioned and cannot be used.

Fellow inmate Jeremy Preo told the inquest on Monday that Ms Wright slapped Mr Reynolds in the face.

Mr Preo also recalled Ms Wright telling a prison officer the dying man was having a drug overdose.

The inquest continues next week.

Inquest hears man dying of asthma attack mistakenly thought to have overdosed
The coronial inquest into the death in custody of Nathan Reynolds commences in Sydney, with his family renewing their calls for answers and accountability.