Coroner issues damning list of failings over death of young Derbyshire man

Ricky Hill.

Ricky Hill.

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A coroner has issued a damning list of failings by authorities over the death of a young Derbyshire man.

Ricky Hill, of Somercotes, was admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital on the evening of September 22, 2014, after he took an overdose of painkillers.

The 30-year-old went missing the next day and was found hanging from a tree near Balmoral Close in the city on January 10, 2015.

He was depressed after a split from his wife of eight years and had previously tried to commit suicide, his eight-day inquest at Derby coroners’ court heard.

On Monday, Dr Robert Hunter, Derbyshire’s senior coroner, ruled Mr Hill took his own life while a patient at the Royal.

He said that was in part because although it was known he was a suicide risk at the time and could abscond, no effective measures were put in place to prevent this.

Dr Hunter also raised concerns and issues with Derbyshire police, including the fact officers did not consider searching land – which belongs to the hospital – where Mr Hill was found.

He will write to the Secretary of State for Health, the Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) over his concerns in the case.

Speaking outside court, Ricky’s father Steven said: “How my son was treated by police and the hospital was disgusting and I intend to take it further.”

He did not go into more detail about what action the family would take.

Mr Hill’s wife Dawn added: “We have got justice for Ricky. We all knew what had happened. It was proving it.”

Cathy Winfield, chief nurse and director of patient experience at Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I want to offer my sincere condolences to Mr Hill’s family for their loss.

“A number of issues arose during the course of the inquest which we will be investigating further. We are sorry that Mr Hill died in these circumstances and we are strengthening our arrangements to better protect future patients.”

Peter Goodman, Deputy Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, added: “Firstly I would like to express our sincere apologies to Mr Hill’s family.

“We accept mistakes were made both at the time Mr Hill was reported missing and during the subsequent search to find him.

“An independent team reviewed our response to Mr Hill last year and they made a number of recommendations about how we could improve. We have already put these improvements in place.”