Mother: 'Justice needs to be done'

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The Independent Online

By Jonathan Owen

Adam Rickwood, 14, hanged himself in August 2004 after he was karate-chopped in the nose while being physically restrained by four officers at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, 150 miles from his home in Burnley.

Before his death, Adam wrote a description of what had happened to him. He said he had been ordered to his room for no apparent reason. When he refused, four officers "restrained" him. "They all jumped on me and started to put my arms up my back and hitting me in the nose."

Adam's mother, Carol Pounder, is desperate for justice. "The people that restrained Adam can carry on tucking up their kids in bed at night. I can't," she said. "Other children are in danger of dying as long as these things are being done. What gives anybody the right to hurt children to keep them under control?"

An inquest into Adam's death earlier this year ruled it was a suicide. But his family is now pressing for a judicial review and Mrs Pounder is in no doubt who is to blame. "Justice needs doing and somebody to be made accountable for my son's death. The system failed him. The authorities have admitted behind closed doors that the restraint used on him was unlawful but wouldn't admit it in front of a jury."