Shrewsbury patient's river drowning an accident, says jury
A man who drowned in the River Severn after leaving a mental health ward died accidentally a jury has concluded.
David Long, 62, was found dead in the water between Monkmoor and Atcham in Shrewsbury, on January 10.
Mr Long was a patient at The Redwoods Centre after being detained under the Mental Health Act in October last year and had battled with chronic schizophrenia for 40 years.
He was last seen walking towards his bedroom in the Pine Ward of the centre by a nurse assistant at 4pm.
Mr Long was not seen again until he was seen by a passer-by struggling in the river.
Witness Thomas Mansell, the nurse-in-charge at Pine Ward had told the jury he had granted Mr Long leave to wander the grounds that afternoon. He said that hourly checks should be made on patients and while Mr Long had last been seen at 4pm in the ward staff had not ventured outside to check he was inside the grounds.
Shropshire coroner John Ellery said it was "presumed" he was on the grounds but at some point he had left.
The jury of nine men and one man passed a conclusion that Mr Long died by drowning in the River Severn after entering the water. The foreman said it was not his intention to take his own life and gave a verdict of accidental death.
Mr Long's family has criticised the staff at the centre for not carrying out vigilant enough hourly checks – and records of any checks had been shredded.
Mr Ellery said that the Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – which is responsible for the Redwoods Centre – has learned lessons from the case.
- See also: Shrewsbury health staff are criticised over drowned patient
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