Adam Rickwood inquest jury returns suicide verdict

Campaign group Inquest has raised deep concerns about the “appropriateness and legality” of the force used against Adam Rickwood at a secure training centre before he killed himself, after a jury yesterday returned a suicide verdict on the 14-year-old yesterday.

Rickwood was found hanging in his room in Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in August 2004 while on remand. An inquest into his death heard evidence about how he had been identified as a vulnerable child with a history of self harm. On the day of his death he had been forcibly restrained by four male staff for refusing to go to his room and had the painful “nose distraction” restraint technique used on him.

Inquest co-director Deborah Coles said: “The state failed appallingly to protect a damaged and vulnerable boy with a long history of self harm and disturbed behaviour. Inquest is deeply concerned about the appropriateness and legality of the force used against Adam which included the nose distraction technique designed to inflict pain. The government must review this dangerous practice that amounts to institutional child abuse to ensure it is never used again.”

Adam’s mother Carole Pounder said she was “disgusted” that the inquest did not consider the lawfulness of the restraint used on Adam and urged the government to ensure that the private companies that run STCs are properly monitored so the children in their custody are treated lawfully.

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