Boy found dead in cell 'not a risk'

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The Independent Online
A TEENAGER was found hanging in his cell three days after a prison health officer decided he was 'not suicidal', an inquest at Darlington, Co Durham, heard yesterday.

Police warned staff at Deerbolt Young Offenders Institute in Co Durham last May that 16-year-old Patrick Murphy was 'an exceptional suicide risk' who had tried to kill himself in a court cell after being sentenced to six months for burglary and theft by Hull magistrates. His family claim the warning was ignored.

The institute's health officer, Patrick McMahon, decided the boy was not a high risk. He said: 'If I had been at all concerned about him I would have admitted him to hospital but . . . I did not consider him suicidal.'

Mr McMahon said that Patrick admitted to drinking eight pints of lager a night, but said he 'didn't regard this as alcohol abuse'.

Patrick was placed on a normal wing. Three days later he was beaten up by inmates and that evening he was found dead, having made a noose from his shirt.

The inquest continues.