THE brother of missing teenager Leah Croucher hanged himself after telling a therapist he was struggling to cope with her disappearance, a coroner heard today.
Haydon Croucher, 24, was found hanging in his flat in Bletchley, Milton Keynes by his mother Tracey Furness and sister Jade on November 14 last year.
He was rushed to hospital where he died two days later Milton Keynes Coroner’s Court heard.
He passed away nine months after his sister went missing.
Chantelle Tillison, who was an assistant therapist, said at the last of three sessions with Haydon on October 16 last year he saw no future for himself.
Ms Tillison said: “He felt hopeless and said he would be better off dead. He explained Leah was still missing and found it difficult to cope with no family support. He fixated on hanging himself. He said if he had the means to hang himself he would.”
She said she was so concerned she persuaded him to go in her car to Milton Keynes hospital for an assessment for admission.
“It was evident he was unwell,” she said.
The inquest heard he was not admitted after saying he did not want to go to a psychiatric bed outside the area, as there were none available locally.
Dr Jibran Syeed, who was with the home treatment team, said he visited Haydon at home on October 18.
Dr Syeed said: “He had been quite a confident person and outgoing. He mentioned boxing and taekwondo. It was reflected by the medals in his home. Now he had no confidence, no motivation for the future and had thoughts of suicide in the past.”
At their second meeting, on 8 November, the doctor said Haydon was more positive and was engaging with his family.
Dr Syeed said: “He was getting on with certain chores and was trying to find a job. He was active in ideas about what he wanted to do. His suicide risk was lower.”
The doctor stopped his Resperidone – an antipsychotic drug, which is used to affect mood disorder.
He said he made the assessment that he should stop taking it because it was a low dose and he was not “expressing psychosis.”
The doctor agreed that he did not see Haydon being discharged from the home treatment team four days later.
Colin Garvey, a community psychiatric nurse with the Central and North West London NHS Trust, said a plan was agreed for Haydon to stay temporarily at his mother’s home.
Tom Osborne, the Senior Coroner for Milton Keynes, asked Mr Garvey: “ If you had formed the only way to keep him safe was for him to be admitted you could have exercised your powers under the mental health act?” Mr Garvey replied: “Yes.”
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
Mr Garvey said that he did not remember any member of staff objecting to Haydon being discharged from the mental health team and returned to the care of his GP on November 12.
He agreed the decision to discharge Haydon had not been documented, saying “That is a fair criticism. We have introduced a system now where decisions are documented.”
Haydon’s death came nine months after his half-sister Leah, 19, vanished on February 15 last year.
The night before, Valentine’s night, Leah left her home in Milton Keynes between 6pm and 7.15pm, telling her mum Claire she was seeing a friend. The police found out she never saw the friend and they do not know where she went or who she was with.
She had been seeing a man who was engaged to somebody else.
In May last year, Haydon appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court accused of threatening the man.
The prosecution dropped the case and he was given a restraining order by Judge Francis Sheridan. The judge told Haydon: "This is a real tragedy.
"You and your family are entitled to and deserve our utter sympathy."
Despite large scale searches and public appeals, there has been no sighting of Leah.
In August, with Leah missing for 18 months, her parents John and Claire issued a new appeal for help to find her. It marked her 21st birthday.
She was last seen in Buzzacott Lane in Furzton, Milton Keynes just after 8.15am, having left the family home in Quantock Crescent, Emerson Valley in the city.
Her mobile phone and bank account have not been used since.
The inquest continues.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call The Samaritans for free any time, even on a mobile without credit, on 116123.
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