Tragic tale of man found hanging

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A WIGAN man suffering from psychotic episodes broke free from a secure mental health unit and was found hanged a few hours later.

Mark Higgins, of Church Street, Golborne was found in woodland on February 1 last year, hours after he fled from the Brooker Centre in Runcorn.

Mr Higgins, 22, had been sectioned under the mental health act a week earlier and had been sent to the Brooker Centre in Runcorn as there was not enough room for him at Leigh Infirmary.

He broke out of the centre through a window and was found hanged by a dog walker in Phoenix Woods, Runcorn, three hours later.

His mother Susan had taken him for treatment after becoming worried about his behaviour in January 2011. He was eventually sectioned under the Mental Health Act and detained at Leigh Infirmary.

Giving evidence on the first day of the inquest into his death at Warrington Coroner’s Court, Mrs Higgins, of Millers Lane, Platt Bridge, said: “He started sending me strange texts about pyramids. We’re a close family and we all noticed he seemed depressed. He struggled for money as he was unemployed, but we all helped out where we could. Some of the texts said that he hated himself.”

Mr Higgins stayed with his mother for a couple of nights at the end of January and she took him to see his GP on Tuesday January 25. The following day he was detained after a meeting with the crisis team at Leigh Infirmary.

Mrs Higgins said: “He was walking around aimlessly and talking nonsense. Eventually they took him to the Brooker Centre. I visited him every day and he was still talking nonsense and on the day he got out he said it was going to be his last day at the centre.”

The court heard that at around 4.35am a nurse at the Brooker Centre heard a bang and upon investigating found Mr Higgins climbing out of a window.

Despite pleading with him not to go, he fled. The inquest heard that he was found by a lady walking her dog at about 7.45am the same day.

(Proceeding)