Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Probation hostel death 'not heightened suicide risk'

Anthony Walker Image copyright Luis Carro
Image caption Tony Walker had been placed at the hostel after completing a prison sentence for assaulting his wife.

A former prisoner who hanged himself at a probation hostel was not thought to be at heightened risk of suicide, despite earlier attempts, an inquest has heard.

Tony Walker, 66, died at The Grange in Purbrook, Hampshire, in November 2017.

An inquest heard he had not been checked for more than five hours.

Coroner David Horsley said he would write to probation and health services recommending better liaison in cases of suicide risk.

The inquest jury in Portsmouth heard Mr Walker, who had a history of mental health problems, had been placed at the hostel after completing a four-and-a-half-month prison sentence for assaulting his wife.

The following day, 4 November 2017, he breached his licence by visiting her on the Isle of Wight, where he threatened to drown himself in the swimming pool.

Mrs Walker and her daughter Rebecca Wray escorted him back to The Grange.

Image caption Tony Walker, 66, was found dead at The Grange in Purbrook

In the week before his death, Mr Walker told doctors and his wife he was concerned he could not return to the island and that he wanted to end his life, the five-day inquest heard.

He was checked at 04:00 on 16 November and was found hanging in his room at 09:30 that morning.

Hostel supervisor Dave Murray said he and fellow staff members had no training in suicide and self-harm prevention and had not seen a suicide risk assessment for Mr Walker.

The inquest jury recorded a conclusion of suicide.

It found staff at The Grange hostel had monitored Mr Walker properly, and although they had not been adequately trained in suicide risks, that did not contribute to his death.

The National Probation Service, which runs the hostel, said it had ensured "all staff have the appropriate guidance and training to prevent this happening again".

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