Husband’s desperate call to mental health unit staff one hour before hanging

Sheila Bone
Sheila Bone
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A TROUBLED mum was found hanging in a mental health unit an hour after her husband’s frantic call to staff warning them she had threatened to take her own life, an inquest heard.

Sheila Bone, 41, had made previous attempts on her life before she was admitted to the Sandwell Park unit, in Hartlepool.

She was found hanging in her bedroom at the unit where she had been receiving treatment for mental illness on April 10, 2009.

An inquest into her death heard that just over an hour before she was found hanging she rang her husband Raymond to tell him she was “sick of things and was going to kill herself some time that day”.

Mr Bone immediately rang the unit and told staff about the worrying call and asked them to keep a close eye on her.

Mrs Bone , 41, was discovered by staff an hour after Mr Bone’s call.

She was alive but unconscious. She died in hospital 20 days later after never regaining consciousness due to severe brain damage.

An inquest into her death resumed at Teesside Coroner’s Court yesterday.

Deputy Teesside Coroner Tony Eastwood said he had “widened the scope” of the inquest because Mrs Bone was vulnerable and within the care of an NHS Trust.

Mr Bone, 44, of Inglefield, Hartlepool, told the hearing how his wife had shown paranoid behaviour since 2006 and was twice admitted to hospital after taking overdoses of tablets.

The inquest heard that it was thought problems having children triggered her depression.

She was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia but her mother Maureen Englishby claimed neither she or her daughter were told she had the mental illness.

Mrs Bone was admitted to Sandwell Park, Lancaster Road, on April 1, 2009.

After visiting his wife at the unit on April 10 Mr Bone received a telephone call from her at around noon.

He told the inquest: “She said she was sick of things and was going to kill herself some time that day.

“She was just not happy with her life and the way things were going with the illness had really got her down.

“I immediately telephoned the ward at Sandwell Park and told them what she had said and asked them to keep an eye on her.”

The inquest heard nursing staff were told about the threat and told to pay extra attention to her.

Just after 1pm she was found hanging from the door frame of her room.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Samarendra Nath Mahapatra said Mrs Bone had delusional ideas of impending doom and was suspicious of those around her.

Her mood and medication were reviewed regularly by staff at Sandwell Park which is run by Esk Tees and Wear Valley NHS Trust between April 1 and April 10.

The inquest heard that Mrs Bone, who had a son in his early 20s from a previous relationship, would have some days when she felt brighter and calmer and did not have suicidal thoughts.

Dr Mahapatra said fluctuations in mood was common for someone with schizophrenia.

Mrs Englishby said: “Had we the family known we would have understood Sheila’s illness more but we were not aware.”

She told the inquest that doctors had only ever referred to her illness as psychotic episodes.

The inquest continues.