Cries of help from cell death teenager

Jake Hardy.
Jake Hardy.

A teenager was under a special “observation” regime because of fears about his behaviour when he was found hanging in his cell - after complaining about being bullied, an inquest heard.

Jake Hardy, 17, of Chesterfield, was rushed to hospital but never regained conciousness and died four days later.

Formally opening the inquest in Bolton this week, assistant deputy coroner Alison Hewitt revealed that 6ft tall and well-built Jake – who suffered from learning difficulties, attention deficit disorder, dyslexia and depression – had registered official complaints of bullying by other detainees at Hindley Young Offenders’ Institute in the city.

On the day of the incident on January 20 2012, he refused to come out of his cell for the standard two-hours between 6pm and 8pm. That was because, the inquest heard, he had earlier been upset at being refused the right to call his family.

CCTV footage showed a number of other detainees “kicking his door” during this period and apparently shouting through the inspection window to him, the court was told.

However, it did not record what they were saying or the manner being used.

Hardy, who also had a history of self-harm and smashing up furniture and even a television to cut himself, was under a special “observation” regime because the authorities had concerns about his behaviour,

A night duty officer checked him at 8.43pm and found Hardy sitting at a desk with the cell light on. He was apparently calm and composed.

But 25 minutes later, when he was checked again, the cell light was extinguished.

The officer shone a torch through the inspection window in the cell door and could see that Jake was motionless and was suspended from the cell window with a ligature made from a bed sheet.

Staff at the young offenders’ institute, which takes teenagers from 15 to 18, managed to restart his heart with CPR massage but he never regained conciousness and died at Salford Royal Hospital four days later.

Hardy was one of three teenagers to die in young offenders’ institutions from apparently self-inflicted deaths within a ten-month period.

Hardy was less than halfway through a four-month sentence for assaulting his girlfriend.

However, the couple were still together despite this, the coroner said.

UK charity INQUEST has arranged for the Hardy family to be represented at the hearing by top Queen’s Counsel, Dexter Dias.

The inquest is expected to last six weeks.