BBC News

James Pollard inquest: 'Staff neglect' contributed to suicide

image captionMr Pollard's parents had warned staff that "something was wrong"

A vulnerable and severely ill mental health patient killed himself after being neglected by staff at a secure hospital, an inquest has concluded.

James Pollard, 36, of Plymouth, died at Fromeside in Bristol in April 2013, Avon Coroner's Court heard.

Mr Pollard's parents said they had warned staff in the days before that "something was wrong".

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust admitted "an error in judgement".

'Chief grievance'

Fromeside is run by the trust to provide the highest security for severely disturbed patients anywhere in the West Country.

Patients spend much of their time under close observation, and at times have to be locked in their own rooms.

The inquest heard that Mr Pollard had tried to take his own life several times before managing to kill himself using the lead of his CD player.

The jury said that staff neglect had contributed to his death.

Staff said Mr Pollard was being constantly assessed, and was not presenting as significantly paranoid or suicidal.

But they acknowledged that he would hide the symptoms of his illness.

Since Mr Pollard's death, patients can now only have shortened leads on equipment.

Speaking outside court, Ian Dixey, the Pollard family barrister, read in a statement on their behalf: "There were failures in risk assessment, communication and patient management.

"Our chief grievance was that the internal investigation carried out by the trust did not acknowledge these failures.

"They failed in their primary duty to keep our son safe."

Chief executive Iain Tully said: "We failed to take account of what the patient's relatives had to say - it's critical our staff do (this).

"An error of judgement was made on this occasion and we must learn from James's tragic death."

More on this story

  • Open verdict recorded for mental health patient death