Rail death suicide (18.10.02)
'Our son was let down by health workers', say the Middy headline of 17.10.02 as it reports : 'Grieving parents of a 22 year old man killed himself on the railway line near Haywards Heath claim mental health workers repeatedly ignored their concerns about him.
An inquest heard that talented Stephen Tompsett said ' I wish I was dead' in front of his his mother two days before taking his own life by laying in front of a train on the London-Brighton line on April 22.
But a coroner said evidence indicated that this did not appear to be an 'active' warning that Stephen intended to kill himself.
Medical staff at the Princess Royal Hospital psychiatric unit told the 2 day hearing at Haywards Heath Town Hall that there was no evidence that Stephen would harm himself.
Describing his treatment, Chris Tompsett, mother of Stephen of Valebridge Drive, Burgess Hill said ' They had him in hospital for 4 months but they didn't know him as a person.' The jury at Tuesday's inquest concluded after 25 minutes deliberation that Stephen took his own life when the balance of his mind was disturbed . The hearing was told that the former Downland's school pupil's dyslexia, learning difficulties and shyness led to communication problems and a lack of confidence.
But his father Geoffrey told the court his son had shown skill as a stone mason, attended college and been commended for his work.
West Sussex Health and Social Care NHS Trust consultant psychiatrist Dr Siddiqui said he first saw Stephen in October 1996 and diagnosed a drug induced psychosis after Stephen admitted in private he used cannabis and amphetamines.
During several years of consultations Stephen alternately recovered and relapsed.
Direct care later switched from Dr Siddiqui to 'an assertive outreach team'.
Team members told the hearing there was no evidence Stephen was likely to 'self harm' although Geoffrey Tompsett told the court his son said 'I wish I was dead' in front of his mother on April 20 - two days before he died. Mr Tompsett said this followed a meeting where Stephen was horrified to be told his future care could involve living in a warden assisted flat. Stephen had said 'I'm not ready for that.'
Summing up. West Sussex coroner Roger Stone said 'Recreational drugs, the term is a misnomer, despite recent press coverage, can have harmful effects.'
He said the evidence indicated that Stephen's statement wishing he was dead was 'passive' not active.
But after the jury's conclusion, Geoffrey Tompsett slammed the Health Authority for allegedly letting Stephen down.
He said an independent psychological analysis recommended therapy for his son's learning difficulties and went on ' I was disappointed at the inquest. There were questions they didn't raise today.'
Mr Tompsett said in a later statement that the family was concerned about Stephen absconding from Downsview - a locked psychiatric facility - despite being specified a 'risk factor' and added : ' The family firmly believe that by April 2 Stephen had given up all hope of receiving the help he knew he needed and therefore having absconded from detention, sought release from his torment.' JH