Devoted dad stabbed himself shortly after release from mental health unit

Teesside Magistrates' Court
Teesside Magistrates' Court

A dad killed himself shortly after being released from a mental health hospital, an inquest has heard.

Andrew Fleming had issues with his mental health and 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, had been feeling depressed and attempted to take his life on multiple occasions.

On arriving home on an overnight release, 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.

Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Senior acting coroner Clare Bailey, at the hearing at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, heard that just one week before his death he had jumped in front of a car, that the day before he had tried to electrocute himself, and that on the morning of his release he had gone out into the local area and bought over-the-counter pain killers.

Dr Jude Archibald, a consultant physiatrist 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 said after the suicide attempts, Mr Fleming had expressed remorse and that he understood the implications of his actions.

The doctor said that Mr Fleming “maintained capacity during his time at Roseberry Park” and that everything that could have been done to help him was.

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 and that ‘just because people think about ending their life doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll do it’.

Tributes were paid after the death of Mr Fleming, who was a former promotions manager at the Mail.

Following the tragedy his wife said: “He was a unique, intelligent, warm, friendly, approachable, compassionate, loving family man.

“He had time for anyone and made people feel important. But he never realised how good he was.

“His happiest time in life was with the Hartlepool Mail. He had some very dear friends at the Mail.”

Andrew lived in Billingham with his family and worked at PC World at Teesside Park.

He was also a former presenter for Radio Hartlepool, where he worked on Solid Gold Sunday and The Evening Show.