A senior manager at the secure training centre where young offender Gareth Myatt died after being restrained has claimed there was “no wrongdoing” by officers investigated over his death.
Paul Cook, director of children’s services at Rainsbrook STC, near Rugby, told Community Care he had “every confidence” in the officers and said they had been “traumatised” by Gareth’s death.
Gareth, 15, lost consciousness after being restrained by three officers in April 2004.
In December last year, the Crown Prosecution Service decided no charges would be brought over his death due to “insufficient evidence” (news, 5 January).
Gareth died after being held in a “double-seated embrace” restraint that had been approved by the Youth Justice Board. It has since been withdrawn from use.
Cook said: “It was a shock to find that a restraint hold considered to be safe turned out to be unsafe. This was as much a tragedy for the staff as for Gareth’s family.”
No staff were suspended during the police investigation at the centre, which is run by Rebound ECD, a subsidiary of private security company Group 4.
Cook confirmed that the officers concerned are planning to return to work after a period of time off, but will not have contact with children.
Gareth’s family are currently waiting to hear when an inquest will be held.
Deborah Coles, director of pressure group Inquest, said Gareth’s case still needed “tough scrutiny” and raised concerns that the remit of the inquest would not be broad enough.
She said: “Staff can get on with their lives by going back to work, but Gareth’s family have a further struggle to face. The inquest will have to ask questions about the training of staff in secure training centres in restraint methods and also look at the responsibility of the Youth Justice Board.”