Nikolas Clarke represented a children’s social services team at the inquest into the death of a 49-year-old woman, SEH. Her son (who children’s social services had supported in various ways since early childhood) was living with her at the time of her suicide.
Her family felt that his presence in the family home caused SEH to take her own life.
Background to the inquest
SEH had been treated by mental health services for more than 20 years. She had a current diagnosis of emotionally unstable personality disorder as well as mental and behavioural disorders related to drug abuse.
She was found dead at home on 9 August 2021 having taken a range of prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
In July and August she had been in regular contact with a Care Coordinator, most recently on 4 and 5 August. She also had contact with a Family Support Worker.
Her health and care professionals (including her GP and psychiatrist) recognised that SEH was struggling with her personal life. However none assessed her as being at immediate risk of taking her own life.
The coroner found that the correct professionals were involved at the right time, that they were sufficiently experienced and exercised their judgement as would be expected.
He concluded that there was no causative act or omission in care and made a finding of suicide.