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Charity's concerns over Stoke Heath death

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A charity which gives a free advice service to families of those who have died in custody today raised major concerns over the death of a teenager at a Shropshire young offenders' institution. A charity which gives a free advice service to families of those who have died in custody today raised major concerns over the death of a teenager at a Shropshire young offenders' institution. INQUEST said it was particularly worried about the death of 18-year-old Nicholas Saunders who was found hanged in his cell at Stoke Heath YOI, near Market Drayton at the weekend. Selen Cavcav, from the London-based organisation, said it was the second death in the last four months at the institution where the circumstances appeared to be similar. It comes as the family of Mr Saunders, of Shrewsbury, today also demanded answers over why he was not more closely monitored in his time at Stoke Heath.

A charity which gives a free advice service to families of those who have died in custody today raised major concerns over the death of a teenager at a Shropshire young offenders' institution.

INQUEST said it was particularly worried about the death of 18-year-old Nicholas Saunders who was found hanged in his cell at Stoke Heath YOI, near Market Drayton at the weekend.

Selen Cavcav, from the London-based organisation, said it was the second death in the last four months at the institution where the circumstances appeared to be similar.

It comes as the family of Mr Saunders, of Shrewsbury, today also demanded answers over why he was not more closely monitored in his time at Stoke Heath.

Mr Saunders's grandmother Jean Gough, of Field Crescent, said: "He had only been at Stoke Heath a matter of weeks. We are mystified at what's happened and there are a few things which aren't right. They were saying he was quite happy when he went for his dinner but then he came back to his cell and did it.

"He was just 18, he was just a boy. He didn't like being on his own and he was on his own."

Ms Cavcav, caseworker for INQUEST, said the charity was working with the family of Michael Cartwright, who died in hospital in December after being found hanging in his cell at Stoke Heath YOI. She said solicitors were now involved in the case.

She said they wanted to make contact with the family of Mr Saunders.

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"As an organisation we are very concerned about this death," she said.

"This is the second death in the last four months and the circumstances are very similar. The deaths of young people in such institutions raises a number of wider questions."

A spokesman for the Prison Service today said Mr Saunders was serving a 14-month sentence for possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

He said: "Any death in prison custody is a tragic event. The number of self-inflicted deaths among prisoners under 20-years-old fell from 16 in 2000 to 4 in 2010.

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"We remain committed to learning from such events and reducing the number.

"As with all deaths in custody the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation."

By Russell Roberts

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