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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 10:48 GMT
Inquiry call over custody death
Adam Rickwood
Adam Rickwood had a history of mental health problems
The mother of the youngest person to die in British custody has called for a public inquiry into his death, on what would have been his 18th birthday.

Adam Rickwood, who was 14, hanged himself after being restrained while at the Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham in 2004.

His mother Carol Pounder, from Burnley in Lancashire, said she would carry on fighting for a public inquiry.

Her son had been remanded at the centre over a wounding incident.

To mark her son's birthday, Ms Pounder led a protest through Burnley.

She said that she wanted the government to know that she had not forgotten what had happened.

"I haven't forgotten about the failures and I will carry on fighting.

"I want to know why they won't do a public inquiry," she said.

Restraint techniques

An inquest jury returned a verdict of suicide after a month-long hearing into the circumstances surrounding the use of restraint techniques.

During the inquest - held in May - the jury was told that the teenager had suffered a string of mental health problems including suicidal tendencies alongside drink and drug abuse.

He had written to his mother warning he would kill himself if forced to stay in the unit.

Hours before his death, staff had ordered the teenager to his room after he and other boys became rowdy.

Legally-sanctioned method

Staff told the inquest into his death that the boy began a confrontation and refused to calm down.

As an attempt was made to restrain him, he lashed out and attempted to bite.

One member of staff restrained the boy with the "nose distraction technique" - an upward blow to the nose.

The technique is a legally-sanctioned method of subduing a teenage detainee in extreme circumstances and is designed to shock and stun.

A report by the Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board into his death called for changes to how children are dealt with in the youth justice system.

The report said it was unacceptable to detain children except in exceptional circumstances.

SEE ALSO
Board demands custody care review
03 Sep 07 |  Lancashire
Boy's custody death was suicide
31 May 07 |  Lancashire
Remand unit 'at bursting point'
03 May 07 |  Lancashire
Inmate sent mother suicide note
01 May 07 |  Lancashire
Funeral of custody death teenager
18 Aug 04 |  Lancashire

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