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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 18:27 GMT 19:27 UK
Restraint hold banned after death
Gareth Myatt
Gareth Myatt was pronounced dead at a hospital in Coventry
Guards at a youth training centre have been banned from using a particular restraining hold following the death of a teenager in custody.

Gareth Myatt, 15, died after losing consciousness while being restrained by staff at the Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre, near Daventry, Northants.

The Youth Justice Board announced that it had suspended the use of the "seated double embrace restraint".

This followed an inquiry by Northants Police into the death on 19 April.

Gareth, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was pronounced dead at Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital. A postmortem examination proved inconclusive.

Restraint technique

On Thursday, the Youth Justice Board announced it had suspended the technique within juvenile centres pending a full review into the potential medical implications of the hold.

The seated double embrace was developed specifically for use with juveniles in secure units and is also used in some local authority children's homes.

It involves two guards securing the youngster in a hold while seated on a chair or bed.

Detective Chief Inspector Charles Moffat, who is leading the investigation for Northamptonshire Police, said the recommendation should not be seen as the conclusion to the inquiry or an indication of the final outcome.

Gareth had been just four days into his 12-month sentence for assault and theft when he collapsed.

No suspensions

On the night he died, he was restrained by two male members of staff and their female colleague.

Rainsbrook, which opened in July 1999, is operated by Rebound, a subsidiary of Group 4, on behalf of the Youth Justice Board.

The three guards have not been suspended, but a spokesman said they had been removed from duties directly involving children while the police investigation continued.

Social services expert David Gilroy is conducting an independent inquiry into the death, which is expected to be finished by the early summer.

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