Gareth Myatt’s inquest has been adjourned until July, and the inquest into the death of Adam Rickwood who, at 14, has the abysmal distinction of being the youngest person to die in custody, opened today.
Adam was found hanging in his cell at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in Co Durham, where he was on remand. There are several reports of the first day’s proceedings in the press today, but the most telling article comes from Sunday’s Observer:
Hassockfield was Adam’s first taste of custody. He had a history of self-harm and had twice taken overdoses, once of ecstasy and once of sleeping pills. He had undergone a psychiatric examination and was diagnosed as suffering from severe emotional problems, in part exacerbated by the deaths of his two grandfathers and a grandmother. A note he left after his death asked that he be buried with one of his grandfathers and stated: ‘I can’t cope.’
Terrific. A vulnerable boy with mental health problems, and who wasn’t coping with bereavement, was locked up in an STC. Such humanity. Worse still:
Several hours before his death, Adam had been restrained by a custody officer using a ‘distraction’ technique which involved the use of force on his nose. The teenager thought his nose had been broken and was in a state of distress.
It all makes pretty unbearable reading, actually.