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Inquest into the death of 18 year old Reece Taylor begins on 8 December, with the evidence starting on 9 December 2014
5 December 2014
The inquest is being held in County Hall, A Block, Victoria Road South, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1LX, 10.00 before HM Senior Coroner for Essex Caroline Beasley-Murray. It is expected to last for 8 days
Reece who was 18 years old, had been in custody at Chelmsford Young Offenders Institute for less than 24 hours, when he was found hanging on 14 November 2013. He died in hospital the following day. Reece had a history of self-harming and suicide attempts.
In the 24 hours before his death, Reece came into contact with seven different agencies within the criminal justice system, four of which will be represented at the inquest.
Reece’s family hope that the inquest will explore the following issues:
1. The adequacy of transfer of information from court staff to the prison and the action taken in response to that information
2. The induction process and assessments that were conducted by prison and healthcare staff upon Reece’s arrival at Chelmsford prison
3. Whether there were appropriate assessments of Reece’s risk of self-harm or suicide
4. Whether there was adequate access to Listeners at HMPYOI Chelmsford
5. Whether the transfer and recording of information about Reece was adequate
6. The adequacy of the emergency response
Doreen Case, Reece’s mother said:
“Reece was a wonderful young man and we miss him very much. We have been waiting many months to find out what happened in those last hours of his life and we hope that the inquest will finally provide those answers”.
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:
“This demonstrably vulnerable teenager with a history of self harm and suicide attempts should have set alarm bells ringing. This inquest must explore why suicide prevention policies designed to safeguard prisoners failed to keep Reece safe. “
INQUEST has been working with the family of Reece Taylor March 2014. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Charlotte Haworth Hird of Bindmans solicitors, and Katherine Hardcastle of 6KBW College Hill Chambers.
Notes to editors:
Reece Taylor is the 8th man to take his own life in Chelmsford prison in the last five years. He is also one of 25 young men aged 18-24 years old who have taken their own lives in prison since January 2013, 4 of whom were 18. Reece’s case will be considered as part of the independent review the government has announced into the deaths of 18-24 year olds in prison.
‘I was already working with INQUEST, which is the organisation who monitor deaths in custody, and at one AGM I told the audience that what happened to these people [killed in police custody like Chistopher Alder, Roger Sylvester and many others] could happen to any of us. And then a couple of years later, I was standing in front of them again but now it had happened to my cousin. So my family and me were now “users” of Inquest. It shows you that none of us are immune – here am I, Benjamin Zephaniah, patron of INQUEST and client of INQUEST at the same time.’
– Benjamin Zephaniah