December 11 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 6, 2013
A patient stepped out in front of a lorry while on escorted leave from a mental health rehabilitation unit, an inquest heard.
Graham Hewett, 66, a patient at Meadowlands, part of the Norvic Clinic, in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew, died on March 26.
Yesterday’s Norwich inquest heard that Mr Hewett asked staff nurse Tracy Cutting to take him for a walk near the hospital at about 4pm.
They had started walking with Mr Hewett nearer the road, when he deliberately walked in front of a lorry coming in the opposite direction, she said.
There was nothing the driver could have done to avoid the collision.
The inquest heard that Mr Hewett had been on escorted leave many times before and was a regular attendee at a nearby church in Yarmouth Road.
He had also been on escorted leave to Sainsbury’s in the area. While the staff nurse could have refused to take him out, if she felt it was inappropriate, the inquest heard there was no reason for her to believe he was a risk. The inquest heard that London-born Mr Hewett was jailed for life in 1983, and that he had made four attempts to take his life while awaiting the trial.
In 1986 he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was transferred from prison to various hospitals under the Mental Health Act, arriving at the Norvic Clinic in 2009.
A jury in Norwich yesterday concluded that he killed himself while suffering from a mental disorder and while detained as a patient under the Mental Health Act and on escorted leave.
Dr Ann Stanley, consultant forensic scientist at the Norvic Clinic, said Mr Hewett was a former HGV driver who was brought up in London, and had been married and divorced.
She said a mental health tribunal in 2012 found that he no longer needed to be in hospital, and preparations were being made for him to be transferred back into the community.
However, his move was delayed because of a lack of funds.
Dr Stanley said that his mood had deteriorated in the early months of this year, and, for the first time in about 20 years, he started hearing a woman’s voice tormenting him.
The inquest heard that he may have been anxious about finally being released, after about three decades in different institutions.
As reported, emergency services were called following the incident and the road was closed in both directions for several hours.
A helicopter from the East Anglian Air Ambulance also attended.
Meadowlands is run by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which provides specialist mental health services in the area.