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Home / Cultural Events / ‘A good and clever man’ dies after falling ill in Cardiff Jail while battling illness
Cardiff Jail artist dies of illness

‘A good and clever man’ dies after falling ill in Cardiff Jail while battling illness

A talented artist who struggled with Parkinson’s disease and aggression died after a spell in cardiff jail, an inquest heard.

Nigel Scott Marsh, 68, died  after falling ill while remanded in custody at Cardiff Jail for assaulting a nurse.

His brother Grenville Marsh told the hearing it was a sad ending for a talented painter who had trained at a top London art school and painted throughout his life.

He said: “It is particularly sad that he ended up like this. He had not been well for the last part of his life, but he was a good and clever man.”

An inquest heard that Mr Marsh had found solace through painting during his 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Mr Marsh, who moved to Pen-y-Bont Court nursing home on March 1 last year, also suffered from psychosis, which caused him to become “unpredictably aggressive”.

Clinical director of HMP Cardiff Prison Dr Rose Marnell said he appeared “too frail” to be in cardiff jail when he was remanded in custody on February 6 last year.

He was subsequently released and transferred to Whitchurch Hospital, but was arrested by police on October 31 and remanded in custody again, after further aggressive behaviour.

He returned to HMP Cardiff Prison on November 1, but within days, medical staff at cardiff jail observed his breathing had become laboured and his condition deteriorated quickly.

Prison nurse Christopher Mitchell, said: “His breathing became more and more rapid and laboured.”

The on-call Cardiff prison doctor was alerted on November 9 and quickly diagnosed him with severe pneumonia, before calling an ambulance to take him to the University Hospital of Wales, where he later died of natural causes.

His brother told the hearing Nigel was born in Holyhead in 1944, where their father was stationed in the Navy.

Cardiff Jail Artist – His work

After the end of World War II, the family moved to Cardiff and Nigel went to school in Canton. He shared his mother’s love of art and excelled in the subject at school, where his friends offered him pennies for his paintings.

At the age of 18, he earned a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art in London.

Cardiff Prison artist dies of illness
Artwork by Nigel Scott Marsh


Specialising in oils, the Penarth-based artist loved to paint landscapes and had numerous solo exhibitions across South Wales. He also painted backdrops for studio sets.

He continued painting throughout his illness. In a statement dated April 7, Lisa Harries, a nurse at  Cardiff prison, who had previously nursed Mr Marsh at Whitchurch Hospital, said: “He enjoyed art and spent many hours sketching and talking about his pictures.”

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, Cardiff Coroner Mary Hassell said to Grenville Marsh: “I am very sorry for the loss of your brother”.

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