Review urged after youth deaths

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The Independent Online

Campaigners have called for an independent review of young offenders' institutions and secure establishments after the fifth apparent suicide of a teenager in five weeks.

Helen Shaw, co-director of the Inquest charity, said the youth secure estate appeared "destabilised" and was failing to meet the needs of young offenders.

Five teenage deaths in five separate establishments between March 16 and April 18, including two who were on suicide watch, are being investigated.

"There needs to be an independent review to look at the use of the secure estate," she told Children and Young People Now.

"One of the things we know from previous deaths is that many of the young people had needs that were far too complex to be met in the secure estate."

Ryan Clark, who at 17 was the youngest of the teenagers who died, was found in his cell at Wetherby young offenders' institution in West Yorkshire, where he was being held on remand, on the morning of Monday April 18.

His death came the day after a 19-year-old woman who was on suicide watch died in hospital.

Mahry Rosser, who had been serving three years in New Hall prison in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, for a robbery in Swansea in November 2009, was found in her cell on the evening of Thursday April 14.

Nicholas Saunders, 18, died on April 2 after being found in his cell at Stoke Heath young offenders' institution in Shropshire.

In the previous month, 19-year-old rapist Nicholas Wheller, who had been jailed indefinitely for the public protection and was on suicide watch, was found in his cell at Aylesbury young offenders' institution on March 9. He died seven days later in hospital.

Trevor Llambias, 18, who was on remand accused of wounding with intent, was found in his cell at Bedford Prison in the early hours of March 28.