Lessons are learned after fatal fall from fourth floor

A 53-YEAR-OLD woman with a history of mental health problems died in hospital after jumping from her fourth floor flat.

Katherine Spray, of Hartington Place, Eastbourne, spent three weeks at Eastbourne DGH but died from the major brain injury she suffered as a result of the fall.

An inquest into Mrs Spray’s death was heard at Eastbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday (July 14).

Coroner Alan Craze was told Ms Spray had been on the mental health services’ books for around 10 years and was in contact with the crisis team when she jumped from the window on October 5 last year.

Ms Spray had told her doctor she felt ‘boxed in’ and suicidal. She was also experiencing problems with her housing and had many of her belongings in boxes and cellophane.

Ms Spray’s GP Dr McNicol, who referred her to mental health professionals in October, said, “She was frustrated and found herself in a difficult situation.

“There were boxes around her home and she didn’t have the motivation or the manpower to deal with the situation.”

Mr Craze also heard Ms Spray had issues with alcohol.

Members of the crisis team had been monitoring Ms Spray with regular visits and assessments but on November 4, Dr Adrian Galea knocked on Ms Spray’s door and she refused to let him in.

He told Mr Craze he and his colleague had a 10-minute conversation with Ms Spray through a gap in the door and she was asking them to leave.

Ms Spray also mentioned jumping from the window when they were outside her door.

Dr Galea did not phone police while outside the flat but alerted officers when he and his colleague returned to their base at Eastbourne DGH.

Officers attended the address later that day and were also told to leave by Ms Spray.

The next day a neighbour saw her fall past her window and land on the roof of a ground floor extension.

Police, ambulance crews and firefighters were called to the scene and Ms Spray was taken to Eastbourne DGH.

Police found her flat was secure at the front door with a step ladder by the window.

Mr Craze recorded a verdict of suicide.

Members of the Trust gave evidence at the inquest and told the coroner lessons had been learned from Ms Spray’s death.