Daniel Adewole was aged 16 when he died in Cookham Wood child prison on 4 July 2015. He was the 34th child to die in prison custody since 1990.
Daniel Adewole, 16, was found unresponsive in his cell following an epileptic fit at Cookham Wood in 2015. Coroner Patricia Harding came to the conclusion that prison officers should have entered the cell of Daniel Adewole much sooner. Instead Officers waited 38 minutes, from first receiving no response at Daniel’s cell door, to when they decided to open it. They even went for a cigarette before checking his safety.
What was the legal implication?
Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said:
“Daniel was vulnerable, both because he was a child and he suffered from epilepsy. The inquest into his death raises the question, why was this boy in prison in the first place? At 16 years old Daniel was left to die alone on the floor of a prison cell, all for the sake of a 6 month sentence. There were serious concerns about the failure of staff to enter Daniel’s cell on multiple occasions, despite his vulnerability. The staff with Daniel supposedly in their care also had a complete lack of awareness of his condition, and of what to do in case of emergency.”
2 years prior, a PPO (Prison and Probation Ombudsman) investigation also found that staff members at the time had failed to open cell doors and had a delayed response to a child in danger. Following this the prison said they would review procedures and ensure there is no delay when there is potential risk to the life of a child. However, lessons clearly were not learned.
Although these things were found in the investigation no one was charged and justice was ultimately not served for Daniel Adewole’s death.
If you want to find out more about other victims of police and state violence in the UK, click here.
The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where restraint is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where use of force is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where mental health-related issues are a feature is nearly two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody.