A TEENAGE girl who died in a children’s home in County Durham had a history of self-harming and attempted suicide, an inquest has heard.

Taylor Alice Williams was aged 17 when she died on February 18, 2017, while she was living at Aycliffe Secure Unit, in Newton Aycliffe

An inquest into her death, which is being held at Crook Coroner’s Court, heard two other children’s homes in Scotland and Worcestershire had said they were unable to keep the her safe in the year before her death.

The court heard Taylor, who was taken into care by Worcestershire County Council in 2014, when she was 14, had been living at the secure unit in County Durham since July 2016. 

Coroner Tanyka Rawden said: “Taylor moved to the secure centre in July 2016.

“Taylor had been self-harming for some time before then and moved to Aycliffe because of concerns for her safety."

On the day she died, she told staff she was “feeling tired” when she went to her room at about 1pm.

At about 4.40pm she was found unconscious, with something wrapped around her neck and was taken to James Cook Hospital, where she was declared dead. 

Maria White, the council’s assistant director for locality safeguarding services, told jurors Taylor had been admitted to hospital on several occasions between 2014 and 2016 because she was experiencing suicidal thoughts or had tried to self-harm. 

The court heard Taylor is thought to have started to self-harm in August 2014, shortly before she moved to Brook Farm residential children’s home, in Worcestershire, where she was provided with two-to-one care.

At that time, senior mental health practitioners assessed Taylor and said she did not have a diagnosable mental health condition. 

There were a number of incidents in 2015, and in 2016, after she was admitted to hospital following a suicide attempt, Worcestershire County Council agreed to look for alternative accommodation for Taylor after Brook Farm said it was concerned that it could no longer manage her. 

In June, she moved to Highview care home, in Scotland.
She was moved to Aycliffe, after it was decided she should be in secure accommodation because she had gone missing on June 30.

Miss White said: “At that point Highview was saying they could not keep Taylor safe and gave the local authority seven days notice.
“At that point the local authority came to the view that a secure location needed to be identified.”

When asked about the decision to place Taylor in Scotland, she added: “It’s not without challenges but primarily, the priority question is which location is going to be the best match and meet her needs.

"While distance is a consideration, on some occasions it maybe that there aren’t any locations that are closer to Worcestershire.

“I would like to place as closely as we can but that’s not always possible.”

The inquest, which is scheduled to take ten days, continues.