Woman who left mental health unit found dead

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THE body of a woman who went missing from a mental health unit has been found washed up on the beach in Southsea.

Police last night confirmed that members of the public discovered the body of a 63-year-old woman in the water late on Saturday evening.

They added however that the death is not being treated as suspicious.

The woman had been staying at the Hawthorn Unit – a unit for people with mental health illnesses in Locksway Road, Milton.

She went missing on Saturday.

An investigation is now being carried out by the Solent NHS Trust.

Aileen Patterson, associate director of the Solent NHS Trust, said: ‘All we can confirm is that we had a patient who went missing from Hawthorn and we were subsequently notified by the police that she had been found in Southsea.

‘We haven’t been notified of the circumstances behind her death.

‘In any situation like this we have a process that we follow including an investigation. That will begin today.

‘We don’t know what happened to her.

‘All we know is that she went missing.

‘We searched for her and reported her missing to the police and they said that they had found her.’

Ms Patterson confirmed that the ward is an acute ward which means people can leave if they choose to.

A police spokesman said: ‘Police can confirm the body of a 63-year-old woman was found in the water on the shoreline at Eastney near the Royal Marines Museum by members of the public.

‘Officers were called to the discovery at 10.50pm on Saturday.

‘The death is not being treated as suspicious.’

Police added that next-of-kin have been informed, but said they will not be in a position to release the name the woman until all formal identification procedures are completed.

Police would not comment on rumours the woman had fallen from South Parade Pier.

Leon Reis, of the East Southsea neighbourhood forum, said: ‘It’s a tragedy.

‘I feel very sorry for the person and their family.’

Southsea councillor Margaret Adair said: ‘It’s very, very sad. It’s quite a shock.

‘We have to find out a little bit more about it.’