Mental health bosses apologise after letting a Hampshire man ‘plagued by voices in his head’ walk away and hang himself

A MENTAL health professional who along with colleagues decided not to hospitalise a tormented young man who went on to hang himself told an inquest: ‘I would have detained him if I thought he was going to kill himself.’

Friday, 29th March 2019, 8:22 am
Updated Friday, 29th March 2019, 8:26 am
George Twiddy, 23, ended his own life after becoming overwhelmed with deafening voices in his head

George Twiddy, 23, ended his own life after becoming overwhelmed with deafening voices in his head – with the ‘much-loved’ son spiralling into psychosis after ‘heavy-use’ cannabis smoking.

Despite George’s worsening mental health, resulting in him threatening to hang himself after leaving his Petersfield home and sending an emotional text to say goodbye to his family, mental health services were accused of ‘failing’ the once happy outgoing man.

And now George’s parents Alan – who battled to save his son after finding him hanging at Warren Copse in November 2017 – and his mum Susan have received reassurances that efforts will be made to avoid a similar tragedy.

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Mental health services from Southern Health and Hampshire County Council were urged to ‘work smarter’ at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court.

Coroner David Horsley, after concluding George had taken his own life having ‘suffered a severe long term psychiatric illness’, said: ‘There was confusion about what could be done to help George. More work needs to be done by these organisations to avoid a similar tragedy.

‘They need to work smarter and there needs to be closer liaison between the providers.’

The coroner will now write to the organisations to help spearhead changes.

Speaking after the coroner’s verdict, the emotional parents told The News: ‘We’re very pleased that he came to the view a number of recommendations were needed by both parties.

‘We hope there will be change so other people will not have to go through what George did and can get the support they need. Also, we hope the ill person is not left at home and that there is greater support for families in those situations.

‘George was a beautiful son. He was our “Gorgeous George”.’

Neil Toyn, a mental health professional at Hampshire County Council, told the inquest he was part of the assessment team who decided George should remain at home rather than be detained despite the deceased’s erratic behaviour.

‘George didn’t want to go to hospital. We thought it would be detrimental to his health as he wouldn’t be able to do things that helped him like walking the dog. We decided treatment in the community was best,’ he said.

But after family barrister Marcus Coates-Walker questioned whether they got it wrong, Mr Toyn added: ‘If I thought he was going to kill himself I would have detained him.’

The following day, with George’s behaviour worsening, Mr Toyn said he was on his way to the family house to detain him after agreement from colleague psychiatrists when they found out the troubled male had taken his life.

Jason Brandon, head of mental health for Hampshire County Council, told the hearing: ‘Since this tragedy we are working more closely with Southern Health to have a more joined-up culture and deal with people in crisis better.’