Mother says medics' failed to save her son

The mother of a man who hanged himself has criticised medical experts who decided he didn't need to be ordered to hospital for his own safety.

An inquest heard that plasterer Ricky Thomas had suffered from depression for years.

Just days before his death, his mother, Sandra Smith, had unsuccessfully pleaded for him to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

The hearing held at Portsmouth Guildhall heard that Mr Thomas, who was 28, was found dead in his home in Braintree Road, Cosham, on New Year's Day last year.

He had suffered a series of problems with alcohol and drugs, and his partner had recently ended their relationship when he died.

An out-of-hours doctor was called to see Mr Thomas on December 13, 2007, after he threatened to end his own life. Mrs Smith told the inquest she had asked for him to be sectioned.

Another doctor was called to see Mr Thomas nine days later after he was found slitting his wrists, and the following day Nick Hadigan, a psychiatric nurse from St James Hospital in Portsmouth, completed an assessment summary on his health.

Mr Hadigan told the inquest that he had to determine if Mr Thomas posed a risk to himself or other people.

Mr Hadigan said: 'Ricky denied feeling suicidal at the time.

'He wasn't at risk of harming himself.'

He was sent to Kingsway House, Southsea – a centre for patients with drug and alcohol problems.

On December 31, 2007, he went to see his doctor, who prescribed him medication for his depression.

His GP, Dr Jonathan Lake, said that he wasn't worried by Ricky's behaviour.

Mr Thomas was last seen by his father, Christopher Thomas, at around 10pm on New Year's Eve after he turned up at the house in an aggressive manner before storming away.

Mr Thomas then called at his son's home the next day, and found him hanging in the loft.

Mrs Smith, 52, of Tanners Ridge, Purbrook, told the inquest she blamed her son's death on those who decided not to section him.

'I feel like I have been let down. Their decision has taken my son away from me.

'They weren't interested in what the family had to say,' she told Portsmouth and south east Hampshire coroner David Horsley.

The coroner recorded a verdict that Mr Thomas took his own life.

He said: 'Ricky was seriously depressed at the time.

'He must have been very ill to do what he has done.

'Looking at his life, it would be hard to think of anyone who wouldn't be depressed.'