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Medics missed chances to help Shropshire bridge death man

Telford | News | Published:

Medics missed two opportunities to help a man who died after falling from a bridge over a main road through Shropshire, a coroner has ruled.

Daniel Murphy

Daniel Edward Murphy had walked out of the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford without telling staff before he fell from the B4394 bridge over the A5 between Shrewsbury and Telford.

Daniel Murphy

The 28-year-old from Shrewsbury had been suffering from psychotic episodes, paranoia and hallucinations and had been admitted to a ward overnight to await assessment by a mental health team, an inquest in Wellington was told.

Two examples of communication between medics were "missed opportunities" to refer Mr Murphy, concluded coroner for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Mr John Ellery in his narrative verdict.

He said if the chances had been taken, they may have resulted in a different course of action and prevented Mr Murphy from being in a situation where he left the hospital of his own accord.

Many motorists and passengers witnessed his fall from the bridge onto the eastbound carriageway of the A5 at Duncote on the morning of July 8.

He survived the fall but was hit by one or more cars. Mr Ellery said he could not return a verdict of suicide because there was reasonable doubt as to whether Mr Murphy intended to kill himself.

A post mortem found Mr Murphy had suffered a fractured skull, ribs and a shattered pelvis, as well as fractured ankles consistent with a fall from a height.

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The inquest heard Mr Murphy, who lived at Millmead, Sutton Farm, had a history of bipolar disorder, depression and alcohol dependency.

His parents had called an out-of-hours doctor to their home near Much Wenlock on July 7 because they were concerned about his behaviour.

Dr Maneesh Kumar told the inquest Mr Murphy had "appeared well, alert and calm and did not seem to be suffering from hallucinations". He called community mental health nurse Bethan Lakelin. But there was confusion about whether she had been called for advice or an assessment of his condition.

When Mr Murphy continued to feel unwell his mother took him to PRH. The inquest heard there was confusion at the hospital as to whether Mr Murphy's case was urgent. It was told that he could have been referred to a secure unit had action been taken quicker. Jane Murphy told the inquest she and her husband Bernard did not believe "one iota" that their son would have intended to take his own life.

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