Tragedy of dad who didn't want to leave hospital

A father-of-two in psychiatric care was so terrified of being discharged that he took his own life, an inquest heard.

Norman Brimelow was found hanged in a densely wooded part of hospital grounds on July 16, 2003, three days after he was reported missing.

The 61-year-old from Peterhouse Walk in Ashton had a history of depression since the death of his wife Rosemary. He had made five previous suicide attempts, but was never detained under the Mental Health Act.

His family complained to the Five Boroughs Partnership about his care at Leigh Infirmary. They felt hospital staff were not taking Mr Brimelow's condition seriously enough. But the Bolton inquest heard that these concerns were never passed on

Before he died Mr Brimelow was a voluntary patient at Leigh Infirmary. Staff had reduced his level of observation to "general" and he could come and go as he pleased.

On July 13 he went out and buy a bottle of whisky from Netto in the town centre before hanging himself sometime later.

His brother Ralph said that the railway engineer retired in 1993 to look after his wife when she became ill. He began to suffer from anxiety and depression and had difficulty sleeping.

Mrs Brimelow died in 2001 and 10 months later, Mr Brimelow was admitted to Leigh Infirmary's psychiatric services for the first time.

Ralph Brimelow told the hearing: "He felt safe in hospital and didn't want to be discharged. He made each suicide attempt when he was let out of hospital and was a 'revolving door' patient."

He said: "He was a model patient and fully co-operated with the treatment."

But the irony was that this meant he was discharged from the hospital quicker than he wanted.

In May 2003 Mr Brimelow took an overdose and was admitted to Wigan Infirmary. He was transferred to Leigh but because of a lack of beds was dropped off at home by an ambulance.

His 19-year-old daughter Susan had expressed concerns about her ability to cope, but they were ignored.

In the days leading up to his suicide, Mr Brimelow showed few outward signs that he was considering self-harm.

Consultant psychiatrist at Leigh Dr D'Souza said: "He certainly saw life as worth living. Care of his son and daughter was something he wanted to live for. He still mourned the death of his wife. But I had no concern with regard to self-harm."

Dr D'Souza said that he had not been made aware of the family's concerns about Mr Brimelow's care by the Five Boroughs Partnership. He said: "None of the staff who were working with Mr Brimelow were told about these concerns."

Coroner Jennifer Leeming said: "Mr Brimelow worked extremely hard in a job that he was happy in. He clearly had a very happy marriage and missed his wife very much.It is clear to me that his depressive illness was a consequence of that."

She recorded a verdict of suicide.