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Friday, 14 December, 2001, 17:34 GMT
Legal action over cell suicide
Anthony Redding
Anthony Redding hanged himself while on suicide watch
The mother of a 16-year-old Coventry boy who hanged himself while on suicide watch at a detention centre has vowed to take legal action against the authorities.

The move came after an inquest jury on Friday returned a verdict of accidental death on Anthony Redding.

Mr Redding, of Binley, Coventry, was found on Valentine's Day this year hanging at Brinsford Young Offenders Institution, near Wolverhampton.

He died a day later from asphyxiation at the city's New Cross Hospital.

While at Brinsford, he had been under surveillance in the centre's hospital wing.

He was a 16-year-old lad and his death was a cry for help

Helen Redding
His mother Helen Redding stormed out of the inquest after hearing the verdict and accused the prison authorities of "failing" her son.

She said: "I was quite shocked because it is quite evident that Anthony was let down and he didn't get the care he was supposed to have and deserved to have as a 16-year-old.

"At the end of the day, this verdict is just a way forward for us to take those responsible for Anthony's death to court."

'Grandmother's' voice

During the four-day hearing, the jury heard that Mr Redding had tied a ligature round his neck on four separate occasions before he was found hanged.

He had first tied a noose round his neck as he was being driven to Brinsford from court after being convicted of motoring offences on 25 January this year.

At the time of his death, he had been on a five-minute suicide watch in the health care wing of the centre.

Mrs Redding had told the inquest that on her last visit to see her son on 8 February, he described hearing the voice of his dead grandmother urging him to "come to her".

Despite making repeated telephone calls to the prison to express her concern and the risk of her son taking his own life, Mrs Redding said she was told he was all right.

'Obvious failings'

She was aware her son had tried to hang himself on a previous two-month spell at Brinsford in 2000 after another inmate broke his nose.

The Staffordshire coroner, Andrew Haigh, said Anthony Redding's death was tragic and although he would not be making formal recommendations, he hoped lessons had been learned.

But Mrs Redding said: "Anthony did not get the level of care he needed.

"He was a 16-year-old lad and his death was a cry for help."

The pressure group, Inquest, said Mr Redding should not have been left on his own in a single cell given his history of self-harm.

A spokesperson said: "We hope that despite the errors, the Prison Service has learned to act upon the obvious failings brought to light by this inquest."

In a statement, the prison service said it noted the coroner's decision and expressed extreme sadness that a young boy had lost his life.

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