Tragic young man hangs himself
Lee was 19 when he was arrested on 26th January 2005 for stealing three bottles of shampoo from a supermarket near his grandmothers’ home, where he lived. Lee was a drug mis-user. He had been using heroin and crack cocaine for three years. He was on a methadone detox program supported by a local organisation in the community.
He had a girlfriend, a 3 year old son, and his daughter just three weeks old. He was remanded in custody in Brinsford YOI after being convicted of theft. He was placed on a subutex program for two weeks. He ended this program two days prior to his death. He had been on association and later returned to his shared cell. At 8pm the inmates were locked down for the night.
It was recorded that at 8.40pm his cell mate claims to have woken from his sleep to use the toilet. He got off the top bunk and found Lee hanging from the side of his bed.
He raised the alarm and an officer eventually arrived, looks in the cell and told him to untie Lee before he would enter. The officer then goes down corridor to call for assistance and returns to find Lee on the floor where his cell mates had placed him.
The officer decides to go in followed by another colleague who picks Lee up by his arm, letting him go and banging his head on the floor. They call for a nurse and paramedics. The nurse arrived and attempted resuscitation using CPR. Paramedics arrived 15 minutes later and continued CPR but pronounced Lee dead at 9.55pm.
Lee’s mother told us the following….
Lee was born 25th April 1985. I brought Lee up alone as his father was abusive to me and he spent time in prison for petty crimes. Lee was a typical young boy cute, funny with a cheeky grin! Everyone loved him. He was hyperactive and this sometimes got him into trouble.
Lee idolised his father but he never saw him often. This had a lasting effect on his mental and emotional state, which nothing was ever going to repair.
When Lee was 8 years old I got married and we left Birmingham and moved to Tamworth to give Lee a better life. Lee found it hard to adjust to new surroundings, school and the friends he left behind. But apart from this he was a normal happy boy.
Lee always struggled at school and started displaying behavioural issues. He got into fights, never completed any of the work that was expected and eventually refused to go. At this time my marriage had broken up; Lee and I moved back to my mothers’ house in Birmingham. He started a new school that was far better equipped to help kids that had problems with learning. When they finished the assessment, Lee had a statement of education that provided extra support for him at school.
It did not help and he began experiencing other problems. Then he started to get into trouble outside of school. He got into fights, got involved in petty crime and appeared in court on several occasions, receiving sentences of fines, conditional discharges and suspended sentences. The North Birmingham youth offending team got involved and they tried hard to help him. None of Lee’s offending was really serious.
I expected he would grow out of it and that it was due to the company he was now keeping. Then Lee began using cannabis. This was my worst nightmare and his behaviour became more rebellious. I was worried and sought advice where I could but nothing seemed to help.
I moved in with my new partner, who lived on a farm, taking Lee with me, and this country life seemed to suit him. He appeared to be more settled. Lee also had a girlfriend, Becky. She was pregnant with his baby and he was only 15 years old. Lee hid a lot of his feelings and was never able to talk about how he felt. He was a very sensitive young man and it was obvious he was not going to cope with a huge responsibility of a child.
Lee’s son was born and he was delighted. But behind closed doors Lee’s depression returned and he began self medicating with drugs…. this time using heroin. Lee did not want to use drugs but it was the only thing that in his words “took away the pain”!
He tried to resume a normal life but when he became depressed he used again. He was only 16 years old when he served 7 months in Brinsford YOI. He did not cope very well in prison he wasn’t strong enough mentally to be in a place like that. He was given subutex (a rapid detox program for two weeks).
He was bullied repeatedly and was placed in the hospital wing after threats to take his life. I was never informed about this. I received a phone call telling me he was in the hospital wing as ‘he was having trouble settling in. (I found out about this only after seeing his medical records following Lee’s death).
After his first release he was unrecognisable… He relapsed the day he got out and was irritable all the time. He had an obsessive compulsive disorder and began self harming. He was just a child and never told anyone of his ordeal…I could no longer reach him….that’s when I lost my son!
Man found hanged in shared cell
(Note: Lee was also known by Lee Crisp)
14 February 2005
Horrors grow in Britain’s violent jails
4 March 2001
Youth jail branded ‘disgraceful’
1 March 2001
INQUEST Press Release
Opening of inquest 12 January 2007 (pdf file)