Inquest will decide if state failed youth found hanged at Hindley institute

Leigh Journal: Jake Hardy died four days after he was found hanging in his cell at HMP and Young Offenders' Institution in Hindley Jake Hardy died four days after he was found hanging in his cell at HMP and Young Offenders' Institution in Hindley

AN INQUEST will this week decide if failures in the care of a 17-year-old contributed to his death at HMP and Young Offenders' Institution in Hindley.

Jake Hardy had been sentenced to a detention and training order and had been in custody for less than two months when he was found hanging in his cell on January 20, 2012.

He died in hospital four days later.

The jury at the four-week inquest at Bolton Coroners' Court needs to establish whether Jake killed himself and if any of a list of 12 possible failings, including to adequately record and consider reports of verbal abuse and his risk of self harm and suicide, occurred.

Assistant deputy coroner Alison Hewitt told the jury: "You are to consider each of these failures individually and decide whether there was a failure and if so, did it contribute to Jake's death?"

Jake had a history of self harm and on January 17 was placed on an ACCT, a watch system that meant he was checked on every half an hour after smashing his TV and using the glass from the screen to cut his left arm.

Jake, who was from Chesterfield, had reported that he was being bullied and verbally assaulted by several inmates on his wing but he refused to name all of the bullies or move cells when staff offered to get him away from them.

Miss Hewitt said: "Most of the reports came from Jake himself but we have heard evidence that he often laughed it off, made light of it or told staff that he was dealing with it.

"You should consider the way that Jake made the reports when deciding what could and should have been done about them."

The inquest was shown CCTV footage from the night of January 20 which showed other young people gathered around his door.

On the same evening, Jake's phone privileges were removed because he was banging and kicking the door of his cell, covering his observation window and became abusive to staff when they tried to calm him down.

He later smashed a sideboard in his cell and threatened to continue doing so but was not moved to a safer cell.

A note to his mother was found in Jake's cell after his death. It read: "If you are reading this it means I am not alive because I can't cope."

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