Kevin Herbert death: coroner records misadventure verdict

The late Kevin Herbert.
The late Kevin Herbert.

A coroner has recorded a conclusion of misadventure at the inquest of a man who was found dead after walking out of a nursing home.

Kevin Herbert, 58, left Brookview Nursing Home in Holmley Lane, Dronfield, through a fire exit with an alarm which was not operating, Chesterfield coroners' court heard.

He was reported missing after disappearing on the evening of January 22, 2014 - prompting a major search - before a member of the public found Mr Herbert's body near Sheffield three days later.

Recording his conclusion on Friday, coroner James Newman said: "Brookview Nursing Home was not a secure unit and Mr Herbert's movements were not and could not, without further assessment, have been limited.

"Accordingly, even if Mr Herbert had been seen leaving the property, I find as a fact that, on the balance of probabilities, staff would have been unable to prevent him from leaving.

"In any event, Mr Herbert was not seen leaving the premises.

"I do not find that the lack of an effective alarm on the fire exit is sufficient to amount to a failure to provide basic medical attention even at the wildest interpretation.

"I do not find that there were any gross failings.

"Despite concerns raised, I do not find that anything in Mr Herbert's care directly caused or contributed to his death."

Dad-of-one Mr Herbert, of Emmett Carr Close, Renishaw, was also known as Charlie.

He suffered from the rare brain disorder progressive supranuclear palsy, which affects balance, vision and speech.

Following an assessment, he was admitted into the home at the end of December, 2013, to receive temporary care while Dorothy Ward, his partner of 20 years, recovered from an operation.

Ms Ward paid an emotional tribute to Mr Herbert in court.

She said: "He was an outgoing, happy-go-lucky person.

"He was an all-round great man.

"Everyone loved him and there was never a dull moment when you were with Charlie.

"He'll never be forgotten."

RELATED STORY: Derbyshire grandfather found dead after walking out of nursing home

Derbyshire nursing home boss was aware of tragic Kevin Herbert walking through fire doors