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Coroner calls for housing for care and custody leavers

Jayne Hughes says lack of accommodation played a role in teenager's death

The Coroner of Inquests is calling for government to make accommodation available on Island for young people leaving care, or custody, following the death of a teenager from drug abuse.

Eighteen-year-old Morgan John Ritchie died in January, less than a month after being released from prison, as a result of non-dependent abuse of drugs, including heroin and diazepam.

The inquest into his death heard Mr Ritchie was of no fixed abode at the time of his death, having spent much of his childhood in care.

In concluding the hearing, Jayne Hughes told the court she'll be contacting the Department of Health of Social Care and the Department of Home Affairs to recommend suitable homes are made available to young people leaving the care system or custody.

She said the lack of safe accommodation for vulnerable young people on the Isle of Man played a role in Mr Ritchie's death, having heard evidence that landlords are reluctant to offer housing to teenagers from a troubled background.

Mr Ritchie had to rely on the goodwill of a friend for accommodation, with the coroner saying his only other option would have been the homeless charity Graih.

Mrs Hughes said it was an 'unsatisfactory situation' not having suitable homes available for those leaving care or custody and has urged the two departments to take whatever action is appropriate to change this.

She also described Mr Ritchie's death as 'an absolute tragedy' and passed her condolences to his family.

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