Inquest hears UEA student offered no home visit prior to death

Theo Brennan-Hulme 

Theo Brennan-Hulme - Credit: Contributed

The failure to offer home treatment may have been "a contributing factor" to a 21-year-old Norwich student's death, an inquest has heard. 

Theo Brennan-Hulme's body was discovered inside his campus room at the University of East Anglia on March 12, 2019. 

The last evidence of the student being alive was three days beforehand in which he had exchanged text messages with his mum. 

An inquest held in Norwich on Monday morning heard Mr Brennan-Hulme - of north Staffordshire - was on the autistic spectrum and had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.

He had a meeting with the Norfolk Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team (CRHT) on February 28, 2019 in which no home treatment was offered in the days before his death.

Classroom teaching and public events have been suspended at the UEA. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

The University of East Anglia - Credit: Archant

A statement from consultant psychiatric Dr Julian Beezhold - formerly of CRHT - told the court there was an "unacceptable delay" between Mr Brennan-Hulme's referral and assessment.

"It's in my view not possible to try to interpret if any assessment and its shortcomings had any outcome on what happened," Dr Beezhold added.

Under cross-examination Dr Melanie White, consultant clinical psychologist for CRHT, said: "The failure to offer home treatment may have been a contributing factor to his death but I am not able to say that concretely. 

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"No proactive intervention was offered in that time frame to treat his mental health."

She told the court Mr Brennan-Hulme - a first year university student - had made previous attempts to take his own life but had been proactively seeking help. 

Dr White said a recent breakdown in relationships with friends had resulted in Mr Brennan-Hulme having no one to live with which could have contributed to feelings of hopelessness. 

She also highlighted how those on the autistic spectrum are at higher risk of suicidal thoughts and self-harm compared to the general population.

The CRHT team has since made changes including independent panels.

It also pledged to ensure there is "greater oversight" over assessment teams. 

The inquest continues.

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