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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Inquiry into detainee's 'suicide'
Manuel Bravo
Manuel Bravo had lived in Leeds for about three years
An Angolan detainee is believed to have committed suicide at the controversial Yarl's Wood immigration centre, leaving behind his teenage son.

The Home Office confirmed that a male detainee is understood to have taken his own life in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The man was named by North East Beds MP Alistair Burt as Manuel Bravo - who prior to detention lived in Leeds.

He is believed to have a 13-year-old son who was also taken to Yarl's Wood.

A post-mortem examination is to be carried out to determine the cause of death.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm the death of a male detainee at Yarl's Wood on 15 September, but cannot comment further."

Yarl's Wood detention centre
Asylum seekers are held at Yarl's Wood before deportation

She said the prisons and probation service ombudsman has begun an inquiry into the circumstances.

On Thursday evening Mr Burt told BBC News he is in full support of the decision for an inquiry into the incident by Stephen Shaw, the Prisons Ombudsman.

"This is a personal tragedy, not least for the boy now sadly left without a father through the incident," he said.

"It is perfectly appropriate to have an inquiry so as to understand how the suicide happened.

"The inquiry must also look at the circumstances of the detention in Leeds and transport of Mr Bravo and his son on the day of the incident to examine those procedures."

'Church family devastated'

The BBC has learnt that Mr Bravo, who is in his 30s, had been living in the Armley area of Leeds with his son for about three years after fleeing war-torn Angola - where he claimed other members of his family had already been killed.

He died shortly after arriving at Yarl's Wood where he was being held before being returned to Angola.

Reverend Alistair Kaye, of Christ Church, Armley, in Leeds, said: "Last night we rang Manuel at the detention centre.

"He was absolutely terrified of going back and this morning I had a phone call from the Chaplain saying that he'd taken his own life.

"At midnight last night he'd committed suicide... So as a church family we're absolutely devastated by it."


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