A second inquest into the death of the youngest person to die in custody begins today after a high court battle. Adam Rickwood was just 14 when he died in August 2004.Not due to him being restrained by staff, you’ll note.
He was found hanging in his cell in Hassockfield Secure Training Centre (STC), County Durham, hours after he was restrained by staff.
The first inquest heard evidence that Rickwood had been identified as a vulnerable child with a history of self-harm and suicide attempts.Which meant that he should have been subject to certain checks and procedures.
Was he? Wasn’t he?
On the day of his death he had been forcibly restrained by four staff for refusing to go to his cell when ordered to do so.Yes, and..?
A painful restraint technique called "nose distraction" – which has been variously described as a squeezing, tweaking, flicking or karate-like chop to the nose – was used against him.And was that a legal technique? Or, in hindsight, has it been determined that it’s not to be used?
The ‘Guardian’ doesn’t say. What the ‘Guardian’ does infer, however, is that this is…well, you tell me:
Hours later he was found hanging. Hassockfield is a privately run institution, operated by Serco.Hmmm…
At the first hearing, in 2007, the coroner refused to allow the jury to consider whether the use of force was lawful.And that didn’t sit well. Not well at all.
The jury returned a verdict saying that he intended to take his own life.And if that one comes to the same conclusion? What then? Best out of three?
Backed by the pressure group Inquest, Adam's mother, Carol Pounder, sought a judicial review of the proceedings and in January 2009, Mr Justice Baker found that the coroner acted unlawfully, and that the physical interference with Adam was a breach of STC rules and an assault on him. He quashed the verdict and ordered a new inquest.
The inquest is expected to examine, among other issues, the circumstances in which restraint can be used against children and the type of restraint that can be used.I doubt it's going to recommend new ones. Just take away what few actually remain, and leave the staff left with just harsh language. But not too harsh...
Carol Pounder, who will give evidence today, said her aim was to find out the full truth about what happened to her son and for those with responsibility to be held to account.But not, you'll note, those who raised the little cherub. Just those who had to deal with him once he'd become a problem.
You're missing the vital piece of evidence, Julia:
Hassockfield is a privately run institution
Therefore they must be wrong. This is Guardianland, after all.
Why is it that the protagonists in these sorts of dramas are always family members, apparently closely related, who all have different surnames?
Glad to see this case being discussed. You've raised some very important questions. The motives for restraining this boy, the methods used and the lack of support for a young person in crisis all need to be high on the agenda of the inquest. Challenging behaviour is a form of communication and it might just be that this individual wasn't listened to.
Are you a Peter Simple column spoof Stevie?
Weekend Yachtsman beat me to it. I was going to say this is further proof of the emerging tradition among the Underclass is that their ill-behaved offspring rarely bear the same second name as others under the same roof.
And yes, SteveLeedale, the young man was challenging all the time. Many of his age and background seem to have no trouble being 'in crisis.' But thank God the state will bail them out, hey?
Perhaps he could have lived at your house, what with you being so large-hearted, eh?
Nice to see some of you have put down the Daily Mail for long enough to join the debate!
A society can be judged by how it treats the most disadvantaged and disenfranchised members of the community. Short, sharp shocks or treating people like animals does not rehabilitate individuals who may have had terrible starts to their lives.
Yes, I do know what I'm talking about as I do work sucessfully "within the field" although I choose not to be any more specific within this forum. If you can honestly say that a damaged young man deserved to die because he would not cooperate then I pity you.
If you can honestly say that a damaged young man deserved to die because he would not cooperate then I pity you.
Steve, can you point me to where this was said (implicitly or explicitly)? I certainly can't see it. Yes, people are not exactly sympathetic to the lad - but that is a long way off suggesting that he "deserved to die".
My comment is extreme in order to highlight the lack of compassion shown by others (not yourself) as being worthy of ridicule. The fact that no one could believe this means that people do know that he was let down, even if that sticks in their throats to admit it.
I do work with some of the most damaged and challenging individuals in the country can therefore say with some confidence that this young man could have been better managed. This is hardly be a revelation since the way he was managed at very least allowed him to take his own life and at worst contributed to his low mood and desperation.
"My comment is a lie in order to highlight the lack of compassion shown by others"
Fixed that for you
I bow to your greater powers of debate. You should have your own column or something. Your insightful views and well-written prose have made me reassess my view of life.
Well Steve, Anon has put it rather bluntly, but that does seem to be the long & short of it.
Yes, I do know what I'm talking about as I do work sucessfully "within the field" although I choose not to be any more specific within this forum.
Sadly for the rest of society there's no doubt you work "within the field", from the claptrap which follows :
The motives for restraining this boy, the methods used and the lack of support for a young person in crisis all need to be high on the agenda of the inquest. Challenging behaviour is a form of communication and it might just be that this individual wasn't listened to.
Totally disagree. For debating purposes I took an arguement to it's logical conclusion to show it's ridiculousness. If you disagree then that's fine but to call me a liar is disappointing.
Anonymous, you should see if Richard Littlejohn needs a ghostwriter.
The kid SHOULD have been beaten up. But he should have been beaten up INSTEAD of being sent to some shithole junior jail.
Saves a fortune on the jail
(whether it was run directly by the scum of the state or was a "privatised" piece of corporate socialist crap)and would have given the kid a direct reason to behave instead of leaving him locked up and sucidal in a shithole.
And with that comment I bow out. Debate is clearly pointless.
Right on Steve-- you don't want to debate with people who don't agree with you.
On your way out any chance of letting us taxpayer's have back some of the millions you and your bosses,co-workers etc are pissing against the wall to no good effect?.
For debating purposes I took an arguement to it's logical conclusion to show it's ridiculousness.
Except you didn't. You accused people of having expressed a view that they didn't, and you were found out.
On the same logic, I could accuse you of having called for all young criminals to be given treats & cuddles and let off for all their crimes, because that is the logical conclusion of your argument. But I won't, because it isn't true and gets us nowhere.
Kids need kindness in their lives. But they also need firmness. And both need to be applied at the appropriate time. It's a question of balance, so responding to people by taking their argument to an extreme to which they don't subscribe is pointless and silly.
Or, to put it bluntly, do grow up.
Oh, and Mr Ecks - while the school of hard knocks may instil respect & discipline, I think we can do things a little better than that. For as long as we want to be thought of as civilised, anyway.
"And with that comment I bow out. Debate is clearly pointless."
It certainly is, particularly if your opponent is a grown man who apparently is yet to discover that liars always get found out.
"Therefore they must be wrong."
That's the insinuation. But it isn't as if the state system has an unblemished record either.
"Why is it that the protagonists in these sorts of dramas are always family members, apparently closely related, who all have different surnames?"
The presence if Christian names taken from Hollywood or popular games is a bit of a clue too.
"Glad to see this case being discussed. You've raised some very important questions."
I'm usually a 'hang 'em, flog 'em and then hang 'em again' type, but this case disturbs me.
It's not the weeping and wailing about the 'assault', I really don't expect anything else when someone ignores an order from a prison warder. Boundaries must be set, after all.
It's more the fact that I can't see why this lad was there in the first place. Perhaps the inquest will disclose more.
"And yes, SteveLeedale, the young man was challenging all the time. "
Was he, though? The 'Telegraph' article on him states:
"The subsequent, rapid decline in his behaviour started when he left primary school and fell in with an older group of children.
Aged 11, he started smoking cannabis. By 12, he was drinking heavily. At 13, he was taking ecstasy. A psychiatric examination diagnosed severe emotional problems and he was admitted to hospital on seven occasions after self-harming incidents.
Adam's first brush with the law came soon after his 11th birthday when he was caught riding a motorbike - a present from his mother.
Arrests for burglary and aggravated vehicle taking followed. On June 29 2004, he appeared before a court on a charge of "wounding with intent" and was remanded in custody."
I've seen worse. And he was settled in a unit and doing well, before being moved to this one for no apparent reason.
I think this case has disturbing implications, and the finger of suspicion isn't pointed entirely at the privately-run secure system.
"Short, sharp shocks or treating people like animals does not rehabilitate individuals who may have had terrible starts to their lives. "
This doesn't seem to be the case for this lad, though. He appears to have had a normal life before 'going off the rails' as a teenager.
"It's a question of balance.."
They seemed to have got the balance right at the first unit he was sent to. Who, I wonder, was responsible for upsetting it my ordering a move? And why?
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