Much-loved dad found dead days after being discharged from Chesterfield's Hartington Unit amid family concerns he would 'kill himself'

A father was found dead in a Chesterfield bed and breakfast on Boxing Day - four days after family told staff at the town's Hartington Unit that he would kill himself if they discharged him.
The Hartington Unit in Chesterfield.The Hartington Unit in Chesterfield.
The Hartington Unit in Chesterfield.

Kevin Burton died at Applewood Accomodation on December 26, 2015, after overdosing on his prescribed medication and illiciltly-obtained substances.

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The 47-year-old, who had a history of mental health issues and drug abuse, had been admitted to the Morton ward on the Hartington Unit in early December 2015 after an attempted drug overdose and was discharged from the mental health facility on December 22.

Mr Burton's inquest started at Chesterfield coroners' court on Monday and is expected to last for four days.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Mr Burton's sister Kathleen Jones said he made contact on December 21 to say he was being 'kicked out' of the Hartington Unit.

Ms Jones said she and her sister Cheryl went to the Hartington Unit where they spoke to Dr Simon Taylor, a consultant psychiatrist.

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Ms Jones told the court: "I said 'you can't discharge him, he's going to kill himself'.

“He wasn't in a fit state to be discharged - he looked hopeless.

"I said to Dr Taylor 'would you take responsibility if Kevin kills himself' and he just shrugged his shoulders and said 'he's a grown man'."

The inquest heard that Mr Burton did not want to go back to his usual address, Danby Avenue in Old Whittington, and instead chose to go to the bed and breakfast on Spring Bank Road.

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Ms Jones said she last contacted her brother on December 22 when he had been discharged and was at the bed and breakfast - but added that other family members managed to speak to him after that date.

Giving evidence, Dr Taylor said it was correct that Ms Jones told him she felt that Mr Burton would kill himself if he was discharged.

Coroner Peter Nieto asked Dr Taylor: "Looking back, was it the right decision to discharge him?"

Dr Taylor replied: "He had a clear plan and a way to get out of the flat that he hated so much - he had temporary accommodation.

"His mood was relatively stable.

"He was established on his methadone.

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"He was talking about plans for the future and what he wanted to do.

"On a clinical level, there was no reason for him to be on the ward - he didn't require inpatient psychiatric care.

"I'm still happy with my decision to discharge him."

Mr Nieto said that two people called Andrew Bowling and Josephine Mulligan - who were meant to give evidence in relation to follow-up care arrangements for Mr Burton - were unable to attend the inquest.

He said he had received letters from both of their GPs stating they had mental health problems.

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Ms Jones told Mr Nieto: "I don't see how you can come to any decision without them being present."

The inquest continues.

Whoever you are, however you feel, whatever life has done to you, please remember that you are not alone and help is at hand. You can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 or email them [email protected]. The Samaritans are there all day, every day.

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