Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury teenager found hanged in cell, inquest told

A teenager from Shrewsbury who was found hanged in his cell at Shropshire's young offenders institution had been identified as being at risk of self-harm, an inquest has heard.


Nicholas Saunders, 18, was serving a sentence at Stoke Heath, near Market Drayton, when he died on April 2 last year. Jurors were told yesterday that he had twice tried to take his own life in the months before his death.

In evidence it emerged that the former Sundorne Infant School pupil had served three months of his 14-month sentence at HMP Woodhill, near Milton Keynes, before being transferred to Stoke Heath in February 2011.

John Ellery, coroner for mid and north Shropshire, told the inquest in Wem that the teenager had been considered at risk in two reports written by staff at HMP Woodhill, meaning he was at risk of self-harm or suicide.

"When he arrived at Stoke Heath he appeared to be settled but he was found hanged in his single cell," said Mr Ellery.

"He was on an anti-depressant drug, which was discontinued by the time he got to Stoke Heath."

He added that no further reports, known as assessment of care in custody teamwork documents, were opened on Mr Saunders during his time at Stoke Heath.

Jurors heard Mr Saunders, who had been convicted of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, had struggled after breaking up with a girlfriend.

Giving evidence, his mum Caren Peters said the family was never made aware of the reports from HMP Woodhill.

It emerged Mr Saunders had declined when officials offered to send letters home about his difficulties.

She added: "He did not seem happy, he wanted to come home.

"He had worries about money and he was crying because he owed a lad inside for cigarettes and owed people money on the outside."

Medical evidence revealed to the inquest showed that the cause of death was hanging, and there were no drugs or alcohol in Mr Saunders' body when he died.

The inquest continues.

By Dani Wozencroft

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