Dad died from multiple self-inflicted stab wounds after being released from mental health hospital

Andrew Fleming.
Andrew Fleming.

A dad died from multiple self-inflicted stab wounds shortly after being released from a mental health hospital, an inquest has heard.

Andrew Fleming had been “plagued by depressive thoughts” before he was admitted to Roseberry Park hospital, in Middlesbrough, just three weeks before his death on May 29, last year.

The 54-year-old, of Annan Road, Billingham, who had previously worked as a promotions manager at the Hartlepool Mail, had attempted to take his life on multiple occasions before he was sent home on an overnight release.

On arriving home, Mr Fleming used a knife to stab himself multiple times in front of his horrified wife Gillian.

She had been pulled to safety by the couple’s 20-year-old son David before calling 999 in a desperate attempt to help her husband, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquest, being led by senior acting coroner Clare Bailey, at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, heard that his cause of death was stab wounds to the chest and neck.

A post mortem examination, carried out by Home Office pathologist, Dr Mark Egan, found he had multiple wounds to his torso, chest, and neck.

Around a week before he was released, Mr Fleming, who was also a presenter on Radio Hartlepool, had jumped in front of a car. He had also taken an overdose, tried to electrocute himself, and bought tablets with a view to taking them.

Dr Jude Archibald, a consultant psychiatrist for Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust, told the hearing that Mr Fleming was on anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medications and was receiving treatment for anxiety.

He was asked why Mr Fleming was permitted to go home despite his suicide attempts and said his patient had wanted to go home.

He also said that overnight release was part of the treatment process to ensure that patients don’t become dependant on hospitals.

Dominic Gardner, head of service for adult mental health services, for the Teesside area of the NHS Trust, had been involved in an incident review after the death.

He said that Mr Fleming had a “long-standing history of obsessive or obstructive thoughts of aggressive behaviour”, and that he had been admitted to the mental health ward before, in February last year.

He admitted there had been shortcomings, including the fact that his suicide attempts had not been identified in a risk assessment ahead of his release.

However, he said: “Mr Fleming reported his behaviour as cries for help and not serious attempts to end his life.”