Inquest opens for Storrington man who ‘fell from the roof’ of Worthing Hospital

Nicholas Weston with mother and sister
Nicholas Weston with mother and sister

An inquest into the death of a Storrington man who ‘fell from the roof’ of Worthing Hospital has opened.

Nicholas Weston, 23, voluntarily admitted himself to Worthing Hospital on January 17, 2016, after ‘having suicidal thoughts’, an inquest heard today, Wednesday, February 1.

Nicholas attended A&E with his father, Richard Weston, and was moved into a clinical diagnostic unit (CDU) as there were no beds available, according to senior coroner Penelope Schofield.

Mrs Schofield told the inquest at Edes House in Chichester that at about 5pm the following day (January 18), Mr Weston left the unit and it was found shortly afterwards that he had ‘fallen from the roof after climbing out of a window’.

Giving evidence, Richard Weston said: “Nic had problems throughout his younger life, including feeling suicidal.

“He had been diagnosed with several conditions including schizophrenia and Asperger’s.”

According to Richard Weston, two days before his son’s death he had ‘barricaded himself in his room’ and then ‘overdosed on Lemsip’.

Richard Weston said when interviewed by a mental health nurse at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, Nicholas said that he wasn’t trying to take his own life but was trying to get to sleep.

His father said: “I questioned the nurse and asked whether he should be taken in and sectioned but they said they had not seen anything that would mean they could section him.”

They left St Richard’s Hospital at about 4pm and Nicholas went for a walk into town and called his sister’s boyfriend between 5pm and 6pm and told him he was ‘feeling suicidal’, Richard Weston said.

“Jamie told Nic to go back home and call an ambulance,” he said.

“Nic then came back home and called an ambulance and told them he wanted to take his life by jumping.”

Richard said the ambulance then came and took both him and his son to Worthing Hospital. He said it was not until 5am that he was assessed and then moved to a CDU unit.

“They said there were not any beds available at the time and he would have to wait to be assessed again in the morning.

“Nic told them that he had previously tried to kill himself when overdosing on the Lemsip and he said that he was afraid he was going to kill himself by jumping.

“He said he wanted to jump and he wanted to be protected from himself.”

Richard Weston said he left at 10am for around four hours to go to an appointment and to get some personal belongings, as well as call other hospitals to see if they had available beds, which he was told they did not.

“When I returned he was still in bed and was not showing any bad signs,” Mr Weston said.

“We went outside for ten minutes for a cigarette and that was when I noticed something was wrong because he repeated twice ‘I am afraid of myself’ – I had not heard him talk like that before.

“We then both went back into the hospital and went to bed because we were both tired. Nic asked me to hold his hand so I did, and then we fell asleep.”

Richard Weston said he was woken up by a member of staff who told him his son had gone missing.

He said he then went to search for him but could not find him, and shortly after was taken into a room and told that he had fallen from the roof of the building.

The inquest continues.