Wednesday, August 6, 2014
The family of a Rackheath man with mental health issues has raised concerns over police procedures after he died following a road accident having been left to find his own way home.
The police officer who dropped off Scott Fulbrook, 26, who had been drinking, at a bus stop near to the Heartsease roundabout, was not told when he asked for a police background check that the young man had been detained by officers under the Mental Health Act a couple of weeks earlier.
An inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court heard yesterday that Scott Fulbrook died from multiple injuries after he was struck on the unlit Salhouse Road on the evening of February 15, 2013. He was wearing dark clothes.
After the inquest Mr Fulbrook’s stepfather Tony Harris said: “We are disappointed with the verdict in its form for the simple reason all we wanted was for the procedures police take when dealing with people with mental health issues, who are intoxicated, are safe.”
On the day that he died, Mr Fulbrook had been drinking and went to Norwich’s Bishop Bridge House homeless hostel to see a friend. Police were called when he became verbally aggressive, but he had calmed down when officers arrived, and they had no cause for concern.
The police national computer check by PC Darren Taylor did flag up markers for weapons and self-harm, but PC Taylor was not told that a couple of weeks earlier Mr Fulbrook had been found in an intoxicated state in Norwich threatening to hang himself.
He was detained by officers under the Mental Health Act and was subsequently deemed to be at particular risk of impulsive self-harm while inebriated. In statements, staff from the mental health trust’s crisis resolution team said Mr Fulbrook was depressed, felt overwhelmed by social difficulties, and had struggled to accept their help and had been discharged a few days before his death.
PC Taylor told the inquest that on February 15, Mr Fulbrook did not seem unhappy or unsteady on his feet, but agreed to being dropped at the Heartsease roundabout, as he was unable to drive him home to Cornwall Close, Rackheath. Motorists saw Mr Fulbrook walking in the middle of the road shortly after 8pm.
A police investigation found driver Ian Tilley had been travelling between 43mph and 52mph in a 60mph zone, in the direction of Rackheath, when he hit Mr Fulbrook. Damage to his car suggested Mr Tilley had been driving with dipped headlights and his speed was likely to have been near the upper end of the estimate.
A post-mortem examination found Mr Fulbrook died from multiple injuries and had 341mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – more than four times the legal limit to drive. A toxicology report said he had recently used cannabis.
Jude Bunting, on behalf of Mr Fulbrook’s family, urged coroner Jacqueline Lake to acknowledge the speed of Mr Tilley’s driving and that he was using dipped headlights, as well as the lack of information given to PC Taylor and his risk assessment of Mr Fulbrook’s inebriated state.
Mrs Lake gave a short narrative verdict saying: “On the 15th of February, 2013, Mr Fulbrook, who had been drinking alcohol and was wearing dark clothing was walking in the road when a vehicle collided with him. He died as a result of his injuries.”
A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary said: “We extend our condolences to his family. The matter was referred as standard practice to the IPCC which concluded a local investigation was appropriate.
“This investigation determined that there were no misconduct issues and that the officer had acted in good faith.”