Family of ‘beautiful’ teenager feel ‘let down’ by services
PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 October 2018
Parents of a ‘beautiful’ but ‘angry’ Weston teenager who hanged himself in his bathroom feel ‘let down’ by the services set up to protect him.
Stephen-Lee Goodwin lived in Sanctuary Housing’s Moorland Road supported accommodation when his mother looked through his letterbox to find him hanged on September 28 last year.
Speaking at his inquest at Avon Coroner’s Court on October 11, Stevie’s mum Susan Hoddinott told the court: “It is going to be so hard without Stevie.
“He was a beautiful, loving, giving and generous young boy but also could be angry, scary and untouchable at times. We were walking on egg shells around him.”
Stevie, aged 19, struggled with substance abuse and was believed to be on the lower end of the autistic spectrum.
The court was told Stevie’s grandmother, Sarah Hoddinott, called police at around 11.30pm the night before he died.
She was concerned he had taken something, but Stevie spoke to the call handler and told them ‘not to worry’. No drugs or alcohol were found in his system.
At 3am the next day, Sanctuary’s on-duty security guard Varadaradlane Calitchy spotted Stevie throwing a television from his room while patrolling the property.
Stevie went to see the guard 30 minutes later asking for the wifi password and Mr Calitchy noticed blood and scratches on Stevie’s face. He told Stevie he did not know it.
At 5.30am, the police received a 999 call from Mr Calitchy, who was ‘scared’ and had ‘locked himself in the office’ to ring the police – leaving Stevie shut away in the kitchen.
The court heard Stevie had been ‘agitated’ as he could not get the password but the situation resolved itself when he asked to be let out and returned to his room. This was the last time he was seen alive.
Further conversations between police and staff led to the matter being closed as both sides believed Stevie was asleep. His family were told as much.
However, Stevie had hanged himself.
Dr Peter Harrowing ruled the cause of death as suicide and told the family the police and Sanctuary Housing ‘acted appropriately’ in the hours leading up to Stevie’s death – despite learning of their concerns.
Susan Hoddinott told the Mercury: “We still feel Stevie was let down and the police and Sanctuary had a duty of care to him which it failed in.
“We as a family will be looking at questioning Sanctuary and the police directly going forward.
“We have been let down and still have unanswered questions.”
Stevie’s father Gary Goodwin said it was ‘outrageous’ the coroner did not order Sanctuary to make any changes.
He said: “There was a lack of communications between the organisations and we are devastated.”