Criticism over death of teenager at Chelmsford prison

HMP Chelmsford Abdullah Idris was found hanged on Christmas Day 2007

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An inquest jury has said failings by the Prison Service and Essex Social Services contributed to an 18-year-old Sudanese asylum seeker's suicide.

Abdullah Hagar Idris was found hanged at HMP Chelmsford on 25 December, the day after he was told he was being deported.

He told another inmate he would rather die than return to the Sudan.

The jury criticised the way the prison gave him news of his deportation and the level of care by social services.

The jury at Chelmsford Coroner's court returned a verdict of death by suspension on Mr Idris.

Number of refinements

Essex County Council said it deeply regretted Mr Idris's death and the circumstances surrounding it.

A council spokesman said: "This tragedy occurred in 2007 and since that time we have introduced new systems which ensure every unaccompanied asylum seeking child now receives support up to and after their 18th birthday."

The prison service said that immediately following Mr Idris's death HMP Chelmsford had reviewed the process of issuing notice of deportation and other related documents to foreign national prisoners.

It said there had been a number of refinements to the process.

In January 2008 the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers released a report into HMP Chelmsford saying it had serious deficiencies in safety, decency and activity.

A HM Prison Service spokesman said the service would consider the inquest findings to see what lessons could be learned in addition to those already learned as a result of a previous investigation.

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