Parents’ appeal after son dies

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PARENTS of a Chesterfield teenager found hanged in his cell at a young offenders’ institution are calling for a public inquiry.

Jake Hardy, aged 17, was discovered unconscious in his cell in Wigan, where he was serving a six month sentence for affray and common assault, on Friday, January 20, but could not be revived and died in hospital on Tuesday.

It is claimed he had been classified as a suicide and self-harm risk in custody and now his parents Gary and Elizabeth Hardy, are demanding to know how he was able to kill himself.

In a statement they said: “We are shocked and devastated by the death of our son.

“Jake was a loving, caring person, who was also vulnerable. There have been too many deaths of young people in prison.

“We support the calls for a public inquiry to understand why this is happening. We don’t want other families to have to go through what we are going through.”

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “As with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation.”

A PPO spokesman said: “The investigation will identify lessons to be learned to prevent similar deaths of young people. If failings are found, recommendations for improvements are made.

“The investigation will also assist HM coroner leading up to the inquest.

“The PPO will involve Jake Hardy’s family in the investigation, if they wish to be involved.

“The investigation will try to provide answers to family and friends about what happened.”

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust campaign group, said: “Lessons must be learnt from the tragic deaths of two children in prison, both within one week.

“Above all, we need to become wise before the event and avoid locking up our most vulnerable young people in our bleakest institutions.”