Tag Archives: herself

Woman jailed for setting bed on fire ‘killed herself in prison’

Inquest hears Emily Hartley, 21, who had mental health problems, had been sentenced for breaking bail conditions

A room at New Hall prison near Wakefield

Hartley, who had mental health problems, was found dead at HMP New Hall. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

A 21-year-old woman was found dead in prison while serving a sentence for arson after setting herself on fire, an inquest jury has heard.

Emily Hartley died in the grounds of HMP New Hall near Wakefield on 23 April 2016. She had been allowed into the exercise yard of the women’s prison at about 3pm and was found hanged.

Wakefield coroner’s court heard on Monday that Hartley had been remanded in custody in May 2015 after setting fire to herself, her bed and curtains in the multiple occupancy building in which she was living.

After her arrest, a court decided to send Hartley to a bail hostel, rather than transfer her to a secure hospital. After breaking her bail conditions, she was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for arson and sent to New Hall in November 2015.

Deborah Coles, the executive director of the charity Inquest, said before the hearing: “Emily was the youngest of 12 women to take her own life in prison in 2016.

“Just like the many women who died before her, she should never have been in prison in the first place. This inquest must scrutinise her death and how such a vulnerable young woman was able to die while in the care of the state.”

Hartley was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager, a diagnosis that was later dropped in favour of one of emotionally unstable personality disorder. She had been addicted to drugs was repeatedly admitted to mental health units, and made previous suicide attempts, the inquest heard.

Giving evidence to the court, Hartley’s mother, Diane Coulson, said her daughter had complained that despite being monitored under suicide and self-harm management processes, which meant she had to be observed twice an hour, nobody was checking on her for hours at a time.

In the weeks before her death, Hartley told her mother she was feeling the lowest she had ever felt.

In a statement, Coulson described her daughter as a “proper little madam, really gorgeous and lovely”. She was said to be a talented actor and musician.

“Emily wanted to have children and a normal life and she wanted someone to love her unconditionally,” Coulson said.

In a letter given to a psychiatrist a week before she died, which was shown to the jury, Hartley said: “I don’t want to die, I want to permanently end my problems.”

She said she wished every day that she had succeeded in killing herself. Coulson said it had been a relief when Hartley was sent to prison because “at least she would be safe”.

During the hearing, the senior coroner for West Yorkshire, David Hinchliff, asked Anthony Fitzhenry, a clinical matron involved in Hartley’s care in prison, whether or not he agreed that it was “not the best therapeutic environment” for people with mental health problems.

“It would depend on the quality of the alternative,” he said. Fitzhenry agreed with the coroner’s suggestion that there were insufficient secure alternatives for people in Hartley’s position.

In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

Mother killed herself after ‘serious failure’ by mental health unit

A mother who killed herself while suffering from postnatal depression died as a result of a “very serious failure” that allowed her to leave a mental health unit unchaperoned, a coroner has ruled.

Despite having made multiple attempts to kill herself, 32-year-old Polly Ross was allowed to leave the Westlands mental health unit in Hull at about 8.30am on 12 July 2015, telling nurses that she was going to buy cigarettes. She was hit by a train at 11.10am and died instantly.

Speaking at the end of a four-day hearing, coroner Prof Paul Marks said he could not rule that Humber NHS foundation trust had been guilty of clinical neglect, but said the decision to allow her to leave the unit “had a direct causal effect” on her death.

Her mother, Jo Hogg, who was previously employed by the trust as an occupational therapist, thanked the coroner for conducting a “frank and fearless examination” of the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death.

She said the trust had failed her daughter when she had needed their help the most and that care for women with postnatal depression in the region was “appalling”. She said that mental health services were “not joined up in a way that pays close regard to the complex needs of patients”.

The court heard how Ross, who ran a translation business in Paris before moving back to east Yorkshire in August 2012, had suffered from the extreme form of morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, during both her pregnancies in 2012 and 2014. The condition has received media attention after it was revealed that the Duchess of Cambridge suffered from it during her pregnancies.

The condition caused Ross – who was described as “staggeringly intelligent” – to be hospitalised and put on a drip, which was said to have compounded her mental health issues. The inquest was told that she developed “drug-induced psychosis” after taking cannabis to relieve her symptoms and that when she asked to be admitted to a specialist mother and baby unit in Leeds, she was turned down.

In February 2015, the linguist was sectioned after a breakdown and her children were taken from her care. Over the coming weeks and months she regularly expressed suicidal thoughts and attended A&E on multiple occasions having self harmed or taken an overdose.

In a statement read to the court, Ross’s aunt Emma May, who acted as her carer after she was first sectioned, said she was certain that the few times her niece had left her home since February “were times she attempted to take her own life”. She said: “I cannot understand how she was allowed to leave the unit to buy her own cigarettes the morning she died.”

Giving evidence to the inquest, Dr Robert Kehoe, a Bradford-based consultant psychiatrist, said that while the overall standard of Ross’s care had been good, there were two serious failures on the part of Humber NHS foundation trust.

“One: there was a failure to clarify and state a plan for what should occur in the situation of a patient requesting to leave the unit,” he said. “Two: the effective decision to end the period of 15-minute observations allowed her to leave the unit at around 8.40am that day.”

Ross’s observations had been increased from once an hour to once every 15 minutes on 10 July after a ligature was found in her room. She was not sectioned at the time of her death, but Kehoe said there was “no logic” in increasing her observations only to allow her to leave the unit unescorted.

In a statement, Humber NHS foundation trust said: “We would like to offer our sincerest condolences to Polly’s mother, aunt, other family members and friends for their tragic loss. The thoughts of everyone associated with the trust continue to be with them at this sad time.

“We would also like to offer an unreserved apology to Polly’s family and friends and acknowledge that there were omissions in her care prior to her death on 12 July 2015. The trust acknowledges Prof Marks’ conclusion regarding the circumstances surrounding Polly’s death and has fully implemented all of the recommended improvements highlighted by our investigations.

“The trust will continue to reflect and learn and seek to continually improve the services we provide to patients.”

In October 2015, Marks ruled that Humber NHS foundation trust was guilty of neglect in the case of Sally Mays, 22, who killed herself after being turned away for inpatient mental health care. The same year, a coroner in Bristol raised concerns about mental healthcare for new mothers after 30-year-old Charlotte Bevan jumped off a cliff clutching her baby girl following a “chain of failures” by medical staff.

In the UK the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

A letter to … My wonderful mother, who drank herself to death

I hate it when people who didn’t know you ask me how you died. As soon as I tell them you were an alcoholic, I know exactly the kinds of thoughts running through their heads. That one word conjures a vivid, stereotypical picture. You were violent. You were neglectful. You weren’t a good mother. I had a horrible childhood. You damaged me.

But that’s not how it was. You were a wonderful mother and I had a golden childhood. You gave me everything a child needs and more. You loved me, supported me, invested your time and money in me and cultivated a deep mother-daughter bond between us. I miss waking up in the middle of the night to find you kneeling by my bed and stroking my hair. I miss the way you took care of me when I was ill. I miss your cuddles and kisses and the strong, heady scent of your expensive perfume.

You really did lead a charmed life. You were married to a good man who provided for you and took care of you. You were never short of money, attention or love. You were the life and soul of the party and people flocked around you. You were strikingly beautiful and unfailingly kind. From the outside, you had it all.

When you were drunk you became nasty and spat out horrible, unforgivable words. It wasn’t like you at all

Yet appearances can be deceptive. You weren’t happy and it’s taken a long time for me to understand why. You always said you loved me more than I could ever understand and you would die for me. But then you did die and it wasn’t for me.

When you started drinking, it was a bit funny. “Oh, Mum’s drunk again,” we would giggle at parties, as you stumbled around talking nonsense. As the years rolled on, it became increasingly less funny. You changed beyond recognition and when you were drunk you became nasty and spat out horrible, unforgivable words. It wasn’t like you at all. I became accustomed to compartmentalising my feelings – the love and respect I had for my mum and the fear and loathing I had of this drunken stranger.

Things progressed badly and the drunken stranger took the steering wheel. My beloved mum gave up the fight. Your marriage fell apart and you lost your home. You were irreparably broken. I was young and selfish and, more importantly, I understood nothing of life or loss.

I’ve spent many years feeling guilty because I didn’t do more to help you. If this happened today, things would be very different. I’m a mother now and used to putting others before myself. I know what I should have done to understand you and help you. If only I could turn back time and be the daughter I should have been, perhaps you would still be alive today. At the time, I did nothing except feel sorry for myself. I blamed you. I was at a loss to understand what you had to be so deeply unhappy about. You had a perfect life and you chucked it all away.

Today, I see you with the compassion of a fellow mother and wife. Life experience has provided me with valuable perspective as to how you really felt. I am able to piece together all the little clues you subconsciously gave me until I can see the whole picture. I have suffered some heart-breaking losses, the first of which was you.

I used to be angry with you for hurting me and then leaving me. I then spent many years feeling guilty and blaming myself for your demise. Finally, I am now able to disentangle myself from all these feelings and treat everyone involved in your story with compassion. If I could have just two minutes with you today, I would take both your hands in mine and say: “I love you and I understand.” Anonymous

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Lady films herself possessing a stroke

On the first occassion she took herself to A&ampE but by the time she got there she discovered the signs had subsided. The hospital ran tests but they came back normal and so she was diagnosed with anxiety and provided some ideas on how to far better handle the signs and symptoms.

Nevertheless, Ms Yepes, a legal secretary, was not convinced. So when she felt the senstion commence although she was driving, she right away pulled in excess of and began filming.

She then took the video to an additional physician and was right away advised she had suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or what’s recognized as a “mini-stroke.”

Further exams confirmed that she had a little blockage in one of the arteries supplying her brain.

Thankfully for Ms Yepes, she caught it just in time, as it was very likely the blockage would have led to a considerably worse outcome.

Video courtesy of University Overall health Network, Toronto

Female killed herself more than advantages reduce, says mental health watchdog

Unemployment figures

Miss DE was informed she would lose her £94.25 incapacity advantage and be put on £67.50 jobseeker’s allowance rather. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

A mental overall health watchdog has discovered that a girl with a background of pressure-relevant depression killed herself simply because her advantages had been lower following a work evaluation.

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland stated the woman in her early 50s took her own life less than a month right after an Atos assessor gave her zero points in a function capability evaluation and docked her weekly rewards by virtually thirty%.

Stating that many health professionals had been worried about the technique, the commission explained it could locate no other purpose why the lady, named only as Miss DE, would kill herself at her home on New Year’s Eve 2011.

She had no history of suicidal behaviour, was hoping to return to operate and was about to get married.

Soon after an exhaustive investigation, like interviews with all the mental well being pros involved in her treatment method, her GP, pals and neighborhood welfare rights team, and interviewing the Atos and Division of Work and Pensions employees concerned in her case, the commission concluded the assesssment was to blame.

Dr Donald Lyons, the chief executive of the MWC, mentioned: “This lady had a whole lot to look forward to. She was receiving married. She was becoming treated. She was undertaking voluntary operate. She had a good social network. There was not anything else which we could identify that would lead us to think that there was any other element in her daily life that resulted in her choice to end her lifestyle.”

In its stinging report on Miss DE’s case published on Wednesday, the commission named for the DWP to overhaul its rigid operate capability assessments procedures by generating them more responsive to folks with mental well being histories.

The overhaul need to incorporate making it program that health care reviews are collected in psychological health assessments, that at least two sources of data are employed and that the person’s GP and psychiatrist need to be told of the “potentially difficult situation” they faced.

After disclosing that a senior NHS official had alerted the MWC to Miss DE’s case, the commission explained it had investigated because it knew of “numerous reviews, analysis and widespread public debate on this subject”.

“One of the factors we undertook this investigation is since the concerns recognized may have an effect on many folks in equivalent circumstances,” it said, including: “A amount of clinicians had expressed concern about the influence on sufferers of this approach and reassessment.”

The MWC’s survey of Scottish psychiatrists located that 13% reported that at least one particular of their patients had attempted suicide soon after going by way of a function capability evaluation, and 75% of them said neither the DWP nor Atos had asked them to take element in the assessments or provide health care evidence about their sufferers.

In Miss DE’s situation, she was offered an hour-prolonged assessment by an Atos-employed physician for the DWP, but was not asked to complete a self-evaluation questionnaire. No proof was sought from her psychiatrist or her medical professional.

The Atos assessor concluded that Miss DE presented “no evidence that she has a significant disability of psychological health function”. She was told by letter on 9 December 2011 that she had scored zero points, soon after two unsuccessful attempts to phone her to make clear the choice.

A welfare rights officer then explained to Miss DE she would for that reason get rid of her incapacity advantage of £94.25 a week, and be place on £67.50 a week jobseeker’s allowance instead. The welfare rights employee explained Miss DE grew to become very upset and worried about paying out her mortgage loan.

The DWP stated it and its advisers had presently examined a lot of of the issues raised by the MWC, as had an independent tribunal and separate reviews, and they had made the decision its programs were largely robust and appropriate.

It extra that it would operate with Atos and stakeholder groups to enhance the way it informed claimants about the procedure, and its questionnaires, and would make certain that assessors made clear they did not have accessibility to their health care notes.

“DWP remains committed to maintaining their processes for collecting further proof under continual review – and will enhance these processes exactly where achievable,” the division told the MWC.

“It remains essential to retain a stability between the extra worth of additional evidence in any claim for Employment and Help Allowance and the demands on the time of GPs and other healthcare specialists.”