A defendant who doused himself with acid in the dock of a courtroom has died in hospital.
Marc Marshall, 55, poured a noxious substance on to his face shortly after being sentenced for fraud offences at Inner London Crown Court in April.
He was taken to hospital in a critical condition and died this morning.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said defendants’ belongings were now kept “out of reach” as part of enhanced court security procedures.
It said it was working with police to investigate how the liquid was brought into court.
Marshall, who was on bail, was carrying a metal water bottle – although CCTV footage is believed to have shown that he had sipped from it as he passed through security at the entrance to the building.
He admitted a series of cheque fraud offences involving £135,000 and was heard to wail and scream when the judge sentenced him to two years and four months in prison.
According to one person present, the defendant’s face went white and there was a smell of acid.
“It looked like he had glue on his skin,” the witness said.
A female dock officer was also injured.
The case had already been delayed because Marshall suffered serious medical problems after stabbing himself in the neck when he was arrested by police in 2016.
A spokesperson for the MoJ said: “The safety and security of all court users is our priority.
“Since the incident in April we have reviewed search processes and now make sure defendants’ property is stored securely and out of reach while they are in the dock.”
Under the new security rules, defendants’ belongings are placed into a sealed recyclable property bag and those who need a drink have to ask the court first.
The Met Police said Marshall’s next of kin had been notified, a post-mortem examination would take place in due course and his death was being treated as “unexplained”.
An investigation by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman has also been launched.