A TEENAGER who was found hanged in his cell at a youth offenders’ institute was being bullied and threatened, an inquest jury heard.
Leeds Coroner’s Court heard Ryan Clark, 17, of Armley, was worried about threats made by people in various parts of Leeds.
The teenager, who was on remand for robberies, was found hanging from a ligature made from a bed sheet at his cell at Wetherby Young Offenders’ Institute (YOI) at around 8am on April 18, 2011.
The court heard that after 13 years in care, Ryan spent the last 12 months of his life moving around hostels in Leeds before ending up at the YOI, which was his first experience of custody.
Jane Held, independent chair of Leeds safeguarding children board, said: “The overview report concluded that there was bullying in all the settings he was in.
“He was in a very difficult position and was quite desperate about his situation.”
Speaking about his housing situation, she said: “It was dire.
“He moved every month during those 12 months and was unable to sustain the accommodation he was provided with.
“Ryan rejected several of his placements and at one point chose to make himself homeless.
“That would tell me that Ryan was anxious about a custodial sentence but was not in a fit state to manage that anxiety appropriately.”
The court heard Ryan lived at various hostels including Pennington Place in Woodhouse, the Clock Hotel in Roundhay, Ladybeck Hostel and The Nite Inn, south Leeds.
Jane added that he had three or four social workers in the year leading up to his death and that although a plan for him was put in place, it was ‘insufficient’.
“Ryan was treated as ‘troublesome’ rather than ‘troubled’”, she said. “He was bullied and he was emotionally very damaged.”
She added: “The system did not properly support or protect Ryan. It wasn’t adequate and therefore we failed him to a degree. The system failed in its purpose.”
She added that significant changes had been made to the housing process.
Andrew Marsland, the head of the location service at the Youth Justice Board, told the coroner’s court: “Processes are in place to manage bullying behaviour.”