Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Detention Staff Defend Centre

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Detention Staff Defend Centre

Article excerpt

Byline: By Owen McAteer

Three inquiries are under way into the death of boy of 14 in a North East detention centre.

Adam Rickwood was found hanging in his room at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in Medomsley, County Durham, on Monday.

He is the youngest person ever to die in custody in Britain.

The teenager, who was from Burnley a was facing a charge of wounding. He had been remanded by magistrates for an alleged breach of bail conditions.

An inquest into his death was opening in Durham today while the Government's Youth Justice Board,the police and the centre itself are all investigating the death, which is not being treated as suspicious.

The centre, run by Premier Custodial Group, was dogged by problems for almost three years after opening in 1999.

They included senior staff quitting, assaults and vandalism by inmates, 400 calls to Durham Police from the centre in six months and poor inspection reports.

But a spokesman for Premier Custodial Group said it believed most of the problems of the past had been dealt with and that Adam's death was an isolated incident. …

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