THE second inquest into the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood has made heartbreaking and disturbing reading.

And its fundamental finding – that the unlawful treatment of Adam contributed to his decision to take his own life – is an appalling indictment of the system used to deal with young offenders in this country.

It defies belief that the officers at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham were not properly trained to appreciate that the force used to restrain him was against the law.

Adam was not an angel. He was a youngster with a troubled background who needed support to put his life back on track.

But he was badly let down in a way which must never happen to a child in custody in this country again.

The case must stand as a never-tobe- forgotten lesson to the authorities and inspire the Government to order an exhaustive review of procedures for dealing with young offenders.

We also wish to pay tribute to Adam’s mother, Carol Pounder, who has never stopped fighting for justice.

Many would have not had the strength to challenge the inadequacy of the original inquest, which failed to dig deeply enough into the background of the tragedy.

Her courage and determination has brought the unpalatable truth to the surface in a way that may well protect other youngsters in the future.

She has done her son proud.