BURNLEY teenager Adam Rickwood, who killed himself at a privately-run young people’s secure unit in August 2004, was taken off suicide watch 11 days earlier, a second inquest into his death has heard.
The 14-year-old was found hanged by his shoelaces at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, in County Durham, where he had been held on remand for a month on an alleged wounding charge, in August 2004.
An initial inquest held three years ago found Adam took his own life but that verdict was overturned by the High Court in January 2009 as the first jury had not been told how the teenager’s removal from association with fellow pupils, the way he was carried and the use of a blow to his nose - a “distraction techniqe” - were “unlawful”.
The fresh inquiry, led by Jeremy Freedman, has heard the centre deemed that Adam was not at risk of self-harm and so would be checked every 15 minutes rather than every two minutes.
The inquest jury was told Adam’s twice-weekly sessions with the centre’s High Risk Assessment team, which assesses the vulnerability of children, ended even though his mother warned staff that Adam he had threatened to “do himself in” days earlier.
Psychologist Kaye Cahill, who was involved in assessing Adam, said: “A two-minute check is appropriate when there is an imminent risk to the life. With the evidence we had at the time, I would have made the same decision again.
“You could see that he was turning a corner and he was hopeful and positive.”
The inquest continues.