There is no evidence that conditions at a prison where disgraced publicist Max Clifford died had any impact on his death, an inquest has heard.
Clifford, 74, was serving eight years for sex offences when he collapsed at HMP Littlehey, in Cambridgeshire. He died of congestive heart failure on 10 December 2017, two days later.
His family has claimed cold conditions at the jail hastened his death.
But the Ministry of Justice said there was “no evidence of this”.
The pre-inquest review hearing in Huntingdon was told Clifford had claimed prisoners were “locked up for 23 hours per day and forced to have freezing cold showers” and that “only enhanced prisoners could have a jumper” as a privilege.
Barrister Kimberley Aiken, representing Clifford’s family, said: “The conditions within Littlehey were known to be pretty shocking and the family have concerns that any gentleman of Mr Clifford’s age and infirmity would have had their death hastened by the conditions.”
Georgina Wolfe, for the Ministry of Justice, told the hearing: “Not only is there no evidence of this but there’s no evidence this had any impact on Mr Clifford’s death and how he came by his death.”
Ms Aiken conceded Clifford “would have died in any event”, adding: “Though perhaps not on that day.
“He would perhaps have been able to go home and have some family time – if the family’s suspicions are correct.”
An earlier hearing in January was told the PR guru’s medical cause of death was congestive heart failure.
It said an underlying factor was cardiac AL amyloidosis – a “rare”, serious condition caused by a build-up of abnormal proteins in organs and tissues.
In 2014, Clifford was investigated as part of Operation Yewtree and eventually jailed after being convicted of eight indecent assaults on women and young girls.
He continued to protest his innocence and an appeal against his sentence was due in 2018.
A date for the full inquest has yet to be set.