Mentally ill man from Lutton in tragic suicide

South Lincolnshire Coroner's Court at Boston.
South Lincolnshire Coroner's Court at Boston.
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A man being seen for “routine” appointments by an NHS community mental health team was found hanged in his home at Lutton.

Keith Alan Steadman (51) hadn’t been seen for several days when a concerned friend, Susan Rayfield, let herself into his home and found him hanging by a thick rope from a banister.

In a written statement to the South Lincolnshire Coroner, Ms Rayfield said: “I was on the phone to his mother when I walked through the door and found him.”

She dialled 999 and the ambulance service asked her to cut Mr Steadman down. He was confirmed dead at the scene that day, August 23 last year.

An inquest at Boston on Wednesday heard Mr Steadman had attempted suicide in the past, taking an overdose and trying to hang himself. He left a note before taking his own life and, in a written statement, his half sister, Debbie Steadman, said she was so glad to know that Mr Steadman knew he was loved by his family – and that he loved them.

Dr Murray Spittal, one of the coroners for South Lincolnshire, said a toxicology report showed Mr Steadman had “lethal levels” of a smoking cessation drug,

He said a note found with the body clearly indicated Mr Steadman intended to take his own life and came to a formal conclusion that his death was due to suicide.

Dr Spittal said it was also clear from the toxicology report that he hadn’t been taking his prescribed medication.

The inquest heard Mr Steadman was diagnosed as bipolar when aged 23.

He was living in Hertfordshire in 2015 before his move to Lincolnshire. Before moving, he was detained for hospital treatment under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act, followed by Section 17 leave, during which time he moved to Lincolnshire and switched to the care of the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

On August 5 last year, Mr Steadman’s GP referred him to the community mental health team because there seemed to be a deterioration in his mental health state and Dr Spittal asked how long it would take for an appointment.

Interim service manager Jeremy Faint, who line managed the mental health team at Spalding’s Johnson Community Hospital, said 18 weeks was the target response time.

He said Mr Steadman already had an outpatients’ appointment on October 18, although he was due to see an occupational therapist from the team on an earlier date – his case was regarded as “routine” but he knew he could seek help at any time.

Mr Faint outlined steps the trust had taken to improve its service in light of Mr Steadman’s case.