Leamington woman’s suicide ‘was not the fault of health trust’

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Health professionals did everything they could to care for a mentally ill Leamington woman who died after jumping off a high rise building, a coroner has said.

Police had been called to the six-storey high Covent Garden car park on March 6 when Karen Wright was seen about to take her life - but they were unable to stop her and she was killed instantly on impact with the ground.

The 50-year-old had been under the care of a ‘crisis team’ at Coventry and Warwickshire Parternship Trust since autumn 2012, after her relationship with her long-term partner broke down.

At an inquest into her death, which was held at the Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington last Friday, Miss Wright’s sister Liz argued that the crisis team had not done enough to care for Miss Wright, who had missed two appointments on the two days before she took her life.

Liz Wright said: “Karen was a high suicide risk - she had a history of self harm,

“She only ate meals at my house and her clothes were falling off her. She had not washed for days.

“We were so concerned about her. We were the closest people to Karen.”

Telling the inquest that her sister had attempted suicide before, Liz Wright said: “I went to see the crisis team but no one spoke to me. It seems to me there is a gap in the team’s assessment. How would you miss a massive chunk of evidence from the family?

“I have lost my dearly beloved sister and I would hate to think that this might happen to another person.”

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Shivu Thomas told the inquest that the team had been in contact with Miss Wright every day since February 28 and had visited her at her home on March 4. He said: “Karen said should did not want to disclose anything to her family. She denied having any suicidal thoughts. We decided to support her from home and review her regularly.”

When Miss Wright failed to appear for her appointment on March 6, members of the team went to her house, but she had already left to go to the Covent Garden car park.

Dr Thomas said: “Karen said she was happy to inform us if she had any suicidal thoughts. If she had felt we were talking behind her back, she may have turned away from the service.”

Returning a verdict of suicide, coroner Sean McGovern said: “I cannot say neglect by the trust contributed to her suicide. They did everything they could.

“Psychiatric medicine is based on subjective views. If the patient gives the appearance of wanting to communicate, there are arguments saying that they should remain in the community. We have to accept that there is an element of uncertainty.”