Kesia Leatherbarrow: Teenage girl found hanged in friend’s garden days after being arrested by police
Kesia Leatherbarrow, 17, had also threatened to kill herself in front of officers, an inquest heard
Kesia Leatherbarrow, who suffered with mental health problems and drug addiction, was found dead in a friend’s garden in Dukinfield
A 17-year-old girl found dead just days after being arrested by police – and held in custody for an entire weekend – had threatened to kill herself in front of officers a month earlier, her inquest has heard.
Kesia Leatherbarrow, who suffered with mental health problems and drug addiction, was found dead in a friend’s garden in Dukinfield on December 3 – a day after she appeared in court.
She was arrested by Greater Manchester Police on November 30 on suspicion of criminal damage and possession of class B drugs after an incident at a property in Hyde, Greater Manchester and detained at Ashton-under-Lyne station for two nights.
Kesia attended a hearing at Tameside Magistrates’ Court on December 2, where she was bailed to re-appear at youth court the following day. She was then found hanged.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is examining the circumstances surrounding her death and detention and an inquest is now under way at Stockport Coroner’s Court – expected to last five weeks.
Kesia lived in Chorley, Lancashire, with her mum Martina Brincat-Baines. The court heard that in October 2013, she was arrested by police and kept at Chorley station overnight.
PC Richard Nicol told the court on that occasion, Kesia was aggressive, threatened to kill herself and showed signs of self-harm, the Manchester Evening News reports.
She was referred to the authority’s social services team and judged to be at ‘high risk’ of hurting herself again.
Medical reports, read to the court by coroner Joanne Kearsley, stated Kesia had mental health issues and had undergone extensive psychiatric assessment earlier in 2013 after displaying ‘suicidal thoughts’. She had ‘difficulty dealing with her emotions’ and was prescribed anti-depressants.
Kesia admitted to taking drugs since the age of 12 – including cannabis and cocaine – but was doing well after months of help and was ‘proactive in trying to change her life’.
She had spent five weeks in a specialist mental health unit before the events leading to her death.
The court heard she had later embarked upon a communications apprenticeship and was doing well, but was found dead after being arrested in Hyde.
Pathologist Charles Wilson said Kesia’s injuries were consistent with the account that she hanged herself.
Her family, led by her mum, helped change the law on children being held overnight in police cells.
Ms Brincat-Baines backed the successful campaign by Just for Kids Law to change the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill and stop most 17-year-olds being detained overnight in police cells.
For confidential support on any issue call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or visit www.samaritans.org
Credit: The Daily Mirror
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