A TEENAGE detainee at Hindley Young Offenders’ Institute was under a special “observation” regime when he was found hanging in his cell, an inquest jury heard.
Jake Hardy, 17, was rushed to hospital but never regained consciousness and died four days later.
The inquest at Bolton is expected to last six weeks and there are half a dozen legal teams attending on behalf of the various state authorities: prison, youth offending and mental health bodies.
Formally opening the inquest, assistant deputy coroner Alison Hewitt revealed that 6ft tall and well built Jake, who suffered from learning difficulties, attention deficit disorder, dyslexia and depression, had registered official complaints of bullying by other detainees.
On the evening of the incident in January 2012, he had refused to come out of his cell for the standard two-hour “association period” between 6pm and 8pm.
That was because, it was stated, he was upset at having been earlier refused the right to call his family at home in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
Closed circuit television recordings show a number of other detainees “kicking his door” during this period and apparently shouting through the inspection window to him. However it did not record what they were saying or the manner being used.
Hardy, who also had a history of self-harm and smashing up furniture and even a television to cut himself, was under a “every 30 minutes” watch system known within the service as ACCT specifically because the authorities had concerns about his behaviour,
A night duty YOI officer checked him at 8.43pm and found Hardy sitting at the desk with the cell light on and apparently calm and composed.
But 25 minutes later, when he was checked again, the cell light was extinguished.
He shone a torch through the inspection window in the cell door and could see that Jake was motionless and was suspended from the cell window with a ligature made from a bed sheet.
Staff at the YOI, which takes teenagers from 15 to 18, managed to restart his heart with CPR massage.
But he never regained consciousness and died at Salford Royal Hospital four days later.
Hardy was one of three teenagers to die in Young Offenders Institutions from apparently self inflicted deaths within a ten month period.
Because of national concern about standards of care within the YOI sector, UK charity INQUEST has arranged for the Hardy family to be represented at the hearing by top Queens Counsel, Dexter Dias.
Hardy was less than half way through a four months sentence for assaulting his girlfriend.
However, the couple were still together despite this, the Coroner said.