The extract below is from a UK newspaper story about the second inquest being conducted into the death of 14 year Adam Rickwood who was the youngest boy to die in custody in the UK. Adam hung himself in a juvenile facility run by Serco after an incident where he was allegedly assulted whilst being restrained by 4 Serco officers.
This is the same company praised and lauded in the WA Parliament by Troy Buswell as a model corporation that should be running more public services in Western Australia.
The youngest person to die in a British prison in modern times had been locked up alone in his room with a bleeding nose and no medical help for 25 minutes, an inquest was told yesterday.
Fourteen-year-old Adam Rickwood had been struck on the nose with an illegal restraint technique while being forcibly carried faced down to his cell by four care officers. Hours later, the troubled teenager was found hanged in his room at the Serco-run Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, near Medomsley, Couny Durham.
Hassockfield team leader Ian Gardner said Adam had been restrained when he refused to comply with an order to go to his room. When he visited Adam 25 minutes after the incident, the teenager’s face was covered in blood, as was the sink, hatch, floor and walls of his room.
Mr Gardner told Adam to clean his face, before later helping him wash his room down, the hearing in Easington, County Durham, was told.
Assistant Deputy Coroner Jeremy Freedman asked Mr Gardner: “Did it not occur to you that a 14-year-old boy with blood on his face – as result of his nose being pressurised – that medical treatment might be needed?”
“It should have been, yes,”he replied.
Questioned further, Mr Gardner said he still maintained it was necessary for four grown men to restrain Adam, who was 5ft 1in and weighed eight stone.
He said the teenager from Burnley, Lancashire, who was on remand for an allegation of wounding, was a model trainee and very respectful.
But, on the evening of August 8, 2004, Adam refused to go to his room after holding on to a rude note another trainee had written about care officer Claire Murray.
Mr Gardner said when Ms Murray called for help, he arrived in the area to find Adam clutching on to a table with his legs wrapped around the table legs.
He and another man held on to Adam’s arms, one man held his head and another his legs.
As he was being carried to his room, Adam exclaimed: “I have burst my nose. I am going to bite your nose off.” His face was covered in blood when they left him.
The so-called nose distraction technique used on Adam, as well as his removal from association and restraint used in these circumstances – commonly used at Hassockfield – had been unlawful, a High Court judge ruled in 2007.
Staff always maintained they believe they were acting lawfully.
The hearing continues.