Court finds staff failings contributed death of teenager at YOI

The mother of a Chesterfield teenager who hanged himself in a young offenders’ institute custody cell has told how she was shocked by the attitude of prison officers whom she claims did not care that her son was being bullied.

Bolton coroner’s court heard last week how Jake Hardy, 17, of Chesterfield, hanged himself while he was serving a sentence for affray and assault at Hindley youth offender institution in Wigan, on January 20, 2012. He died four days later.

The inquest found he had died as a result of his own deliberate act but there was not enough evidence to prove he intended to kill himself and they highlighted a number of failures at the youth jail.

The jury found multiple failings by staff at the YOI contributed to his death after he had been bullied by inmates including failing to protect him and investigate the bullying.

They found Jake’s death was contributed to by failures to give him enough support, record his suicidal thoughts and reports of verbal abuse and move him to another cell.

His mother Elizabeth Hardy said Jake’s family has been shocked by the attitude of some of the officers who she says did not care that her son was being bullied.

The inquest heard how Jake had special needs and had cut his wrist previously and complained he was suffering verbal abuse and his mother had warned that Jake had been thinking about taking his own life.

Inmates shouted through his cell door and kicked it, according to the inquest.

The charity Inquest said Jake was failed by the prison officers.

A Prison Service spokesman said their sympathies were with Jake’s family and it will consider the inquest findings to see what lessons can be learned. The spokesman claimed the service has made strenuous efforts to make changes.