Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 12:56 UK

Hanged boy not seen as 'in need'

Paul Briggs
Paul Briggs died after his girlfriend became pregnant

A review into the death of a teenager who hanged himself said agencies failed to recognise him as a "child in need".

Paul Briggs, 17, from Ynyshir in Rhondda, died in January 2008 after his 15-year-old girlfriend became pregnant.

A serious case review highlighted areas of concern within agencies in north and south Wales where Paul had lived.

Isle of Anglesey council and Rhondda Cynon Taf's local safeguarding children board both said they would take forward recommendations made in the report.

Coroner Philip Walters said at the inquest he did not think Paul had meant to take his own life but was trying to draw attention to his circumstances.

Paul's grandfather Thomas Jones said: "He did certainly needed help and the help he needed, he never got.

I definitely think if more people had worked together as one, could Paul have been saved?
Angela El-Nasri

"I feel let down, his mother felt let down and everybody around us voiced their opinion and said the authorities, they were lacking.

"They should've done something sooner."

Rhondda Cynon Taf's local safeguarding children board carried out a serious case review to establish what lessons could be learned.

The report, which referred to a number of agencies in north and south Wales because Paul spent time living in both areas, drew attention to several areas of concern.

The most important missed opportunity was said to have been an apparent failure by agencies to recognise Paul as "a child in need" and refer his case to children's services for assessment.

Suicidal feelings

The year before Paul died, he was taken to hospital after taking antibiotics as he had "felt suicidal after an argument with his girlfriend".

He described feeling suicidal for a fortnight and was referred to the crisis resolution team where he was assessed as a "low risk".

Paul was referred to his GP but when he failed to attend the matter was not followed up, said the report.

The risk assessment also concluded that he should be referred to a local drug support agency but there was no evidence that the referral was actually made.

Paul's mother, Angela El-Nasri, said the various agencies should have worked more closely together.

"I definitely think if more people had worked together as one, could Paul have been saved?" she said.


The education authorities in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Anglesey were criticised because Paul's files had not been transferred between schools, nor were all incidents and concerns recorded.

Social services in north Wales was also told that Paul had been sleeping rough, but no assessments were made.

The RCT local safeguarding children board said school records should have been transferred but were not and the chair of the board would be writing to the assembly government about cross-authority tracking systems to address this problem.

The board also said there should have been a follow-up to the non-attendance at the GP surgery and this was being taken up by the relevant health authority.

When concerns were raised about an individual's vulnerability, the board said all agencies needed to be watchful and refer the individual concerned to children's services.

An Anglesey council spokesperson said it was aware of the review's recommendations, and would consider them carefully for possible improvements which could be made.

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