THE inquest of a teenager who was the youngest person to die in British custody is to take place almost three years after his death, it has been announced.

And Adam Rickwood's mum Carol Pounder said she hoped the hearing would help provide answers about what happened to him.

Mrs Pounder will travel from her home in Burnley to the hearing, expected to last four weeks, at Durham Magistrates' Court starting on Tuesday.

Adam, of Harold Street, Burnley, was just 14 when he was found hanging in his cell at the Hassockfield Centre, Consett, County Durham, in August 2004.

He had been on remand for one month after allegedly breaching bail while accused of a wounding offence. The charge was due to be dropped.

She said: "I will be travelling to the hearing which hopefully will help provide some answers as to what happened to Adam.

"We have been waiting so long for the inquest; I just hope we can now get to the truth."

Mrs Pounder has been campaigning for a public inquiry to be held into her son's death. Last October she marched in Downing Street with other bereaved parents in a bid to persuade politicians to sanction an inquiry into the amount of deaths in custody.

And despite hoping the inquest will give her answers, she still wants the public inquiry to take place.

She said: "There should be a public inquiry whenever a child dies in custody so that the families can find out what happened in an open and transparent way."

The Youth Justice Board, which launched an investigation straight after Adam died, promised that lessons would be learned if faults in the system were highlighted.

Adam, a former pupil of Hargher Clough Primary School and Gawthorpe High School, had threatened to kill himself weeks earlier, and was supposed to be on 15-minute suicide watch.

But Mrs Pounder doubts the procedures were followed, and believes the deep cuts in her son's neck suggest he was left much longer than a quarter of an hour.