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BBC News | UK |
Thursday, 21 June, 2001, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
An inquest into the death of a teenager who hanged himself at a West Midlands young offenders institution has found the prison partly to blame for his death.
David Henderson, 18, was discovered hanging from a sheet tied to his cell window at Brinsford Young Offenders Institution on 17 March last year.
He died five days later in Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital.
There were emotional scenes at Stafford Crown Court as the jury returned a verdict of accidental death aggravated by neglect.
David Henderson’s father jumped to his feet, pointed a finger at the prison governor and said: “When are you going to do something about this?”
Earlier James Henderson had claimed that his son had killed himself after persistent bullying from other inmates.
The institution’s governor, Danny McAllister, said he completely accepted the verdicts and sent the Henderson family his sympathies.
After the verdicts Mr Henderson said: “All along my son complained to me and prison staff and it was just brushed under the carpet.
“Now the verdict has come back as neglect, they can’t wash it away or brush it under the carpet anymore.
“They let it happen and they let children die.”
The inquest had heard from staff earlier that David Henderson had given them no cause for concern in the days before his death.
It also heard the teenager, who was on anti-depressants and had been in a “low mood” before his death, had made no complaints about bullying.
Last year three inmates took their own lives at Brinsford and there was one death earlier this year.
In March, the Chief Inspector of Prisons Sir David Ramsbotham condemned conditions as a “disgrace”.
His comments followed an inspection which concluded there was a “breathtaking level of neglect and lack of understanding” towards inmates at the institution.
Sir David described conditions as a “stain” on the Prison Service and said Brinsford’s regime put most of its juvenile population “at risk of harm.”
But the institution’s governor Danny McAlister said vast improvements had been made since the inspection.