Youth on suicide watch kills himself
by Mikey Powell Campaign
Originally published 20th October 2004
Any news updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item
Anthony Redding, aged 16, was reported to had been on a five-minute suicide watch in the health care wing of the Brinsford Young Offenders’ Institution near Wolverhampton by prison authorities, but was found hanged on 14th February 2000. Police arrested Anthony for stealing a car. He was charged with taking the car, driving without insurance and without a license.
Following his conviction his mother, Helen Redding, said that Anthony should have faced a different punishment. Mrs Redding added, “Anthony never did anything violent. He took a car. They could have given him a different sentence, rather than lock him up.”
The young man hanged himself after starting a four-month sentence for the motoring offence and breached court orders. He died the next day. At the time of his death, he had been on a five-minute suicide watch in the health care wing of the centre. Anthony had first tied a noose round his neck as he was being driven to Brinsford from court. Anthony’s Mother was aware her son had tried to hang himself on a previous two-month spell at Brinsford in 2000 after another inmate had broken his nose.
Repeated plea’s for help went ignored by staff despite making repeated telephone calls to the prison to express her concern and the risk of her son taking his own life, Mrs Redding said she was told he was all right.
Deputy prison governor Phillip Wragg said Mrs Redding’s concerns had been documented, however it was later disclosed that records had only been made on confidential medical notes rather than a case file that open to all prison staff.
In December 2001 Anthony’s family vowed to take legal action against the authorities after the Inquest jury had returned the verdict of accidental death. Helen Redding had stormed out of the inquest after hearing the verdict and accused the prison authorities of “failing” her son.
She said, “I was quite shocked because it is quite evident that Anthony was let down and he didn’t get the care he was supposed to have, and deserved to have as a 16 year-old.”
Mrs Redding had told the Inquest that on her last visit to see her son on 8th February, he described hearing the voice of his dead grandmother urging him to “come to her.” She added, “Anthony was very tearful and stated that he had heard voices in his head the previous evening. “He said, ‘You are never going to believe this, it’s Nan.” She had passed away three years ago and Anthony was extremely close to her. “The voice had told him to come to her. This made me very upset and very concerned for Anthony.”
His family has consistently maintained that, “Anthony did not get the level of care he needed. “He was a 16 year old lad and his death was a cry for help.”
The pressure group, INQUEST, said Anthony should not have been left on his own in a single cell given his history of self-harm. A spokesperson said, “We hope that despite the errors, the Prison Service has learned to act upon the obvious failings brought to light by this inquest.”
The Redding family was subsequently awarded £7,500 in compensation by the Home Office. The Home Office agreed to pay his family compensation, but the Redding’s feel they have been “paid off” to avoid the case going through the courts.
David Williams, the Treasury Solicitor, in London, confirmed the Home Office had agreed to pay compensation. He said, “The compensation has been paid to the family of Anthony Redding. It is £7,500, on behalf of the Home Office.”
Anthony’s Mother said, “We still feel gutted, it’s as though this is the end. She went on, “It isn’t the form of justice that we wanted. “I wanted answers and wanted to know why my son was allowed to end up in such a state that he tied his sweatshirt around his neck and took his own life.”
In January 2003 his sister Louise said, “He was my brother but he was also my best friend. We always looked out for each other. The last two years have been terrible and I can never imagine getting over it.”
Anthony also has another Sister Karis, aged 11, and Brother Robert, aged 22.
Anthony’s Father, also named Anthony, said he has been unable to work since his son’s death because of depression. “I feel miserable and it still hurts a lot, what happened with Anthony has had a massive effect on all of us – but I don’t think we will ever find out what really happened.”
Vigil held on tragic teenager’s birthday (pdf file – off-site)
26 October 2004
Legal action over cell suicide
14 December 2001
Youth jail branded ‘disgraceful’
1 March 2001