‘Insufficient’ evidence to prosecute over restraint death at Rainsbrook

No charges will be brought over the death of young offender Gareth Myatt in a privately run secure training centre, the Crown Prosecution Service has ruled.

It said there was “insufficient” evidence to prosecute over the death of the 15-year-old in April 2004 after he was restrained by three staff at the Rainsbrook centre, near Northampton.

Gareth, 15, lost consciousness while he was held in a “seated double embrace” restraint. The technique was later suspended by the Youth Justice Board.

Solicitor Mark Scott said Gareth’s mother, Pamela Wilton, remained “largely in the dark” about how her son had died.

Scott said: “The little information that has been disclosed [by the CPS] has been to raise serious concerns about the techniques of restraint with which we allow our children to be controlled.”

A spokesperson for Rebound ECD, a subsidiary of security company Group 4, which runs Rainsbrook, said three staff members were taken off front-line duty during the investigation, but was unable to disclose whether they had been reinstated since the CPS decision.

Gareth’s mother is now waiting to hear when an inquest into his death will be held. She was said to be too distressed to comment.

Helen Shaw, co-director of charity Inquest, which has supported the case, slammed the use of “potentially lethal” methods of restraint against children.

She added: “There must now be a thorough and far-reaching inquest to ensure that the full facts surrounding Gareth’s death are subject to proper public scrutiny.”

The ruling came as parliament’s home affairs and work and pensions select committees criticised government plans to exempt deaths in police and prison custody from liability under proposed reforms to the law on corporate manslaughter.

In a joint report, the committees said there was no “principled justification” for the exclusions from the draft Corporate Manslaughter Bill, published in March.

The government and police chiefs had argued that organisational failings relating to deaths in custody were already sufficiently investigated through the Independent Police Complaints Commission, in the case of police, and public inquests for prison fatalities.

However, the parliamentary committees said this should not preclude prosecution for corporate manslaughter and expressed particular concern about exemptions for private firms that run prisons and custody suites.

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