Gypsy mother fights for justice after son’s probation hostel death

22 September 2017

Tricia Devall determined to get justice after her son’s death “ripped her family to pieces”

A Gypsy mother is fighting for justice after her son died in “suspicious circumstances” at a probation hostel in Maidstone.

Billy Jo Rye died in the hostel three weeks after early release from prison for good behaviour. His mother said her son was “over the moon” on his release and was looking forward to starting a new life with his partner who became pregnant very soon after. Billy Jo Rye’s partner then lost their unborn baby soon after learning of his death. Billy Jo Rye also leaves behind three young sons.

Tricia Devall, Billy Jo Rye’s mother, speaking to the Travellers’ Times, says she is determined to get justice for her son and to put right the wrong that had “ripped her family to pieces”. The Travellers’ Times understands that Tricia Devall now has a lawyer working on her behalf after she contacted INQUEST, the organisation that works to bring to light and investigate suspicious deaths in police, prison and probation custody. Tricia Devall has also started a petition to help her cause.

“I am a person who don’t give up,” says Tricia Devall. “I will get my answers – I know I will get my answers. I don’t give up easily.”

She added that her fight for justice was also to protect other future residents, because she believed that the management “where not fit people to run a probation hostel.”

“They have no trained first-aiders,” she says.

Tricia Devall described the day that her son died on Sunday 21st May, 2017 – a day she will “never forget.”

She became worried and contacted the probation hostel when her son failed to contact his partner – something that he had done every single day since his release –but they told her he was “asleep.”

“Billy was like an alarm clock,” said Tricia Devall. “As his mother I just knew something was terribly wrong. I begged and begged them to go into his room and check on him.”

The probation hostel staff eventually did enter Billy Jo Rye’s room, says Tricia Devall, but failed to call an ambulance and instead told her that they had “thrown water” in her sons face “in an attempt to wake him up.”

Tricia Devall says that by the time a paramedic was on the scene – two hours later – it was too late to save him and that if the hostel staff had acted quicker, Billy Jo Rye might still be alive today.

“I know as a mother that if they had reacted sooner, Billy might be alive today,” she says. “Now my daughter in law has lost her baby. I am living in hell. I can’t get my head around it.”

Tricia Devall has started a petition to help her in her fight for justice. The petition can be found and signed by clicking on this link:

Raise awareness of neglect in probation hostel

The petition has been signed by the Travellers’ Times.