The wife of a Derbyshire man found dead in woodland close to the Royal Derby Hospital says she ‘begged’ on the telephone for him ‘not to be let out’ in case he killed himself.
Dawn Hill told the inquest of Ricky Hill she and the-then 30-year-old had separated just seven weeks before he was admitted to the Royal having taken an overdose of painkillers in September, 2014.
Mrs Hill said following their temporary split he had started taking drugs and drinking heavily as he was depressed.
He went missing from the hospital on September 23 and was found hanging from a tree in woodland near Balmoral Close in the city on January 10, 2015.
Mrs Hill told the hearing at Derby coroners’ court: “I phoned the hospital and begged them not to let him go.
“They just said they would be assessing him in the morning, they said his parents were with him, they reassured me that was what was happening.
“I put my trust in the hospital.”
Mrs Hill, of Welbeck Close, Somercotes, told the court how her late husband was ‘a very loving and caring family man’.
Steven Hill, the father of Mr Hill, said the night before his son went missing he and his partner were with him at the Royal.
He said: “I have never seen Ricky so hollow or depressed as he was that night in hospital which is why I had my concerns about him.”
Steven Hill said his son became more depressed the longer the split from his wife continued.
Dr Robert Hunter, senior coroner for Derbyshire, asked Steven Hill: “You are Ricky’s dad, you have known him all your life, did you have any concerns at all that he would ultimately take his own life?”
Steven Hill replied: “Yeah, that is what I explained to the nurse (at the Royal on the night he was admitted). I said to her ‘if he gets the chance he will be gone (will abscond from the hospital)’.
“The nurse said security is that good he will not get out without getting picked up and if that happens he will be brought back and sectioned.”
Emma Whitting, a solicitor representing the hospital, challenged this, saying: “You’re telling the court now that the nurse almost threatened Ricky?”
He replied: “I am saying that, yes.”
Pointing to his head, Steven Hill continued: “I know what she said, it will never leave there.”
Both Steven Hill and Dawn Hill have told how Mr Hill became depressed in the run up to his split with his wife following the death of his grandmother, who he was very close to.
Mrs Hill said she believed his depression led to an episode in March, 2014, when he was found in the garden of their home in a distressed state.
She said: “He was in the back garden, the police had to come and take him, he was under pressure, he was taking anti-depressants.”
Dr Muhammed Zafar was the senior house officer on duty at the Royal the morning before Mr Hill went missing.
He said he saw him at around 3am on September 22, 2014, after he had been admitted for taking the overdose.
Dr Hunter asked Dr Zafas: “In your professional assessment, what did you think his suicide risk was?”
He replied: “Given his history of depression there was a high risk of suicide.”
Dr Zafas has told the inquest that when he spoke to Mr Hill he gave him a full history of his depression.
He said Mr Hill told him he was suicidal when he took the overdose and was still feeling suicidal when he was assessed.
The inquest continues. It is expected to last seven days.