Inquest into death of Clowne man found dead after escaping psychiatric unit

The grieving mother of a 43-year-old Clowne man who escaped from a psychiatric ward and was found dead in a field three days later has raised concerns about his care.

A jury inquest heard how Michael Mapley, a patient at Chesterfield’s Hartington Unit, escaped after setting fire to a piece of paper- triggering an alarm which unlocked the fire door next to his dormitory.

Chesterfield Coroner's Court.

Chesterfield Coroner's Court.

He was found dead next to an electricity pylon on land behind a farm in Calow on July 13 2016, three days after he was reported missing.

The provisional cause of death has been given as hanging.

Speaking at the inquest, which began on Monday (January, Monday 14 2019) and will run over the course of four days, Michael’s mum Olwen Mapley told Chesterfield Coroner’s Court she felt she had been ‘kept in the dark’ about his illness.

She said: “Nobody seemed to want to tell me anything at the hospital, nobody seemed to be monitoring him.

“He even walked me out of the building, which I thought was odd. I had to watch him to make sure he went back in.

“I thought I would be given guidance, or advice, even a leaflet. I felt so alone.”

Olwen described her son as a ‘free spirit’ and ‘adventurer’ who ‘didn’t do well under a strict regime’.

He lovedtravelling, camping and hiking through the Peak District.

But he was also a heavy drinker and had dabbled with a psychoactive drug called Pandora’s Box.

Michael was admitted to the Hartington Unit in June 2016 after he began ‘hearing voices’ and had self-harmed during his stay.

He was originally detained under Section 2, which was increased to a Section 3 after he was permitted to leave the unit to collect belongings from his Church Street flat and set fire to papers while he was there.

Despite this, nurse Lesley Hart, who was on duty the day he escaped, said staff had had no reason to believe he would take his own life.

She said: “We were concerned about him but have concerns for all our patients.

“Michael denied the fact he was suicidal. He was really happy that he’d seen his mum and had made plans with her.

“I did not think this man was going to kill himself.”

The inquest continues.