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Last Updated: Monday, 9 August, 2004, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Mother seeks answers over suicide
Colin Williamson
Colin Williamson was found hanging in his cell in June 2001
The mother of a teenager who killed himself at a young offenders' institute is meeting the governor to find out how things have changed since his death.

In May, the Home Office admitted that a series of failings in the care of Colin Williamson, 18, contributed to his death at Portland, Dorset, in 2001.

He was taken off suicide watch even though he was known to be at risk.

Norma Woods will ask the governor why national guidelines at the jail are not being met, despite assurances.

Settlement agreed

Documents released to her solicitor during the court case in May revealed only 5% of inmates at risk of committing suicide are sharing cells at the institute.

This is despite a national policy introduced in 1994 which advises that all those at risk should share cells.

The inquest in November 2001 recorded a verdict of suicide on Mr Williamson, from Reading, but said he had a history of mental health problems and should never have been left on his own.

It found he was put under special observation when he arrived at Portland, but was taken off it again by a senior officer - against prison service regulations.

In May, the Home Office accepted responsibility for the failings in his care, and agreed a settlement with Ms Woods.

Mother's victory over son's death
24 May 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset
Sad state of youth prisons
05 Feb 03  |  England

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