The mother of a young man found hanged in his cell in Buckinghamshire has told an inquest that she was worried he would not be able to cope with being locked up.
Billy Spiller, 21, who was serving a three-and-a-half year sentence at a young offenders’ institution, had a history of self harming and had been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a teenager, Buckinghamshire Coroner’s Court in Beaconsfield was told.
His mother Dawn said he started to injure himself from the age of nine and would sit on railway tracks near their home or drink white spirit when upset.
He left school at the age of 15 due to his difficult behaviour and went to work as a roofer with his father, Nick, but that came to an end when he jumped from scaffolding onto the roof of a double decker bus “for no reason”, Mrs Spiller said.
It appeared Spiller, who was 6ft 6in tall, sometimes lacked “an appreciation of danger”, Buckinghamshire Coroner Richard Hulett noted.
Spiller was given a three-and-a-half year sentence for his crime, details of which have not been revealed to the inquest, in December 2009, and had been in custody since July 2008. He entered Aylesbury Young Offenders’ Institution (YOI) in July 2010.
Mrs Spiller said: “I was very worried about Billy being in prison. I was worried they wouldn’t be able to cope with him.”
She had been allowed to sit with Billy, who was prescribed medication for his conditions, in police cells and in court.
“I knew he would not cope with being locked up and that’s why I was so worried,” she added.
Mrs Spiller described her son as “very impulsive” young man.
“He was so determined and headstrong,” she said. “Billy was like a tornado. He was always on the go.”
He would repeatedly kick and punch the walls of his cell at Aylesbury YOI and on the morning of his death was frustrated at not having enough money to call his girlfriend, the inquest heard.
When a prison warder checked on him at 1pm on November 5, 2011, Spiller said he was feeling better, after being allowed to make the phone call.
However, when the same warder looked in on Spiller’s cell through an observation window just over an hour later, she saw him hanging and immediately called over another prisoner to help bring him down.
Spiller was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. A pathologist gave the cause of death as suspension.