Call for justice for teenager who died in Medomsley Detention Centre three decades ago (From The Advertiser Series)
Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Call for justice for teenager who died in Medomsley Detention Centre three decades ago
A WOMAN has called for justice for her brother – 32 years after he died in the notorious Medomsley detention centre.
An inquest ruled that David Caldwell who suffered asthma attack at Medomsley Detention Centre had died of natural causes.
But his sister Carole Kyle and her family have always believed it was his ill-treatment at the hands of officers at the Home-Office run institution, near Consett, County Durham, that triggered the fatal attack.
And she has called for a full investigation into the circumstances of the 17-year-old’s death, while he served a three-month sentence for theft.
Ms Kyle of Hebburn, South Tyneside, vividly recalled the moment she spotted the bruises on his neck when she went to visit him She said: “I asked him “What happened and I want the truth?”. He said it was the prison officers that did it.
“I got up from the table and said “I am going to report it now”, but he asked me not to saying it would only make things worse for him if I did. He was petrified.”
Weeks later the teen was dead.
Ms Kyle said: “When I went to identify his body the first thing I saw when they pulled the sheet back he had loads of bruises on his neck.
“I asked how he had got them and was told it probably happened when they were trying to bring him around. But I don’t accept that.
“I mentioned this at the inquest but they weren’t interested.”
Ms Kyle also told the inquest that scratches on his legs were caused by him being kicked around by prison officers.
She told the inquest: “He said when they were scrubbing floors if they didn’t say “sir” it would happen.
“The first day he was there he didn’t say “sir” and was hit and slapped across the face.
“The inquest was a waste of time. They just weren’t listening.”
Mother Sylvia Caldwell said at the time of the inquest her son was forced to do harsh physical training including repeated press-ups against his will and was beaten by prison staff, leaving him with bruising.
Ms Kyle said: “I have always said David died of asthma. I have got asthma, too, and I know if you get agitated it can bring it on - and he had asthma worse than me. I believe the attack was brought on by his ill-treatment.
“Even though he was in there he was a quiet lad. He wouldn’t be able to help himself he wouldn’t fight. He would just do as he was told.
“He was just a joker. No bother. He was arrested after he was caught driving a tractor on a building site. He got three months, but I have always said he got life.”
She added: “I feel the case should be reopened and all the circumstances surrounding my brother’s death investigated.
“I just want justice. So do my brothers John and Alan and my mother Sylvia."
David would have been 50 years old on Valentine’s Day. Instead of a party, the family placed flowers on his grave, as they do every year.
The grieving will never end but, if they get answers, the family may be able to move on.