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Campaigning Burnley mum on drugs charges
THE mother and sister of the youngest person to die in police custody in the country have been charged with taking part in a drug-dealing plot.
Carol Pounder, 45, led a long-running campaign for justice after the death of her 14-year-old son Adam Rickwood at Hassockfield detention centre in County Durham.
Adam took his own life after being subjected to a controversial nose distraction technique by detention officers - which has now been banned.
The teenager, who had written letters previously threatening self-harm, was left alone with a bloody nose, after being carried there by four detention officers. One administered a short, sharp blow to his nose to quieten him down en-route to his secure quarters.
Pounder appeared before Burnley magistrates with Adam’s sister Laura Rickwood, 21, and Luke Gorton, 28, accused of conspiracy to supply heroin on February 6.
The three, who all gave their address as Pounder’s home in Greenock Close, were each sent for trial on bail by magistrates, as the offence can only be dealt with by a crown court.
Adam was remanded to Hassockfield at the same magistrates court in the summer of 2004 after allegedly breaching his bail on a wounding charge. He was also facing a burglary allegation of the staff office at Stoops and Hargher Clough community centre at the time.
His mother has also staged protests outside the courthouse, while campaigning to obtain justice for the teenager.
The family had to wait more than three-and-a-half years for an inquest into the teenager’s death. And then an inquest jury returned a suicide verdict and placed no blame on Hassockfield staff.
The nose-hold technique used to restrain Adam was banned in January 2008 and the following year a High Court judge ordered a fresh inquest into his death.
But it was not until January 2011, when a second inquest took place under a different coroner, that a jury ruled ‘unlawful force’ had contributed to his death by hanging.
His case has also since been cited by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, as they lobbied on behalf of teenagers who may have been assaulted in detention centres across the UK.
Pounder, Rickwood and Gorton will appear for a plea and case management hearing at Burnley Crown Court later this year.