Children at the centre where 15-year-old Gareth Myatt died complained to staff that they could not breathe while being restrained but were told to shut up, an inquest heard last week.
The teenager died at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre in April 2004 after being restrained by three officers following a row.
Dexter Dias, representing Myatt’s family, said a police report into the safety of the double-seated embrace, the restraint technique used on Myatt, which involves holding a child’s arms then bending them over, found children regularly complained of being unable to breathe.
Police collated a sample of 32 children who had been restrained a total of 52 times at the centre after beginning the investigation in June 2004. Dias said medical experts concluded that two-thirds of the restraints had been “potentially lethal”.
Some children claimed that when they had complained of being unable to breathe, staff had told them “if you can talk, you can breathe”, he added.
Centre director John Parker said that staff were not supposed to talk to the children in that manner. The hearing continues.
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