Schizophrenic jumped from Arndale Centre car park

Arndale Centre death - March 15 2012
Arndale Centre death - March 15 2012

A schizophrenic took his own life at a town centre car park shortly after leaving a psychiatric unit at the DGH.

Peter Marshall, a voluntary patient, had been given permission to go out on March 15 this year. The same morning, the 53-year-old, pushed himself off the side of a ramp at the Arndale Centre and died of multiple injuries.

An inquest into his death heard he had become depressed and this was thought to be because of attending a series of funerals and after his family - who had visited him from Australia at Christmas - had returned home following the festive break. He was also worried about the health of his landlady June Marshall, who had met Mr Marshall at a Brighton psychiatric unit more than 30 years ago where she was a volunteer, and later let him stay at the family home. Mrs Marshall, of Kingsmead Way, Seaford, said he was looking forward to coming home and did not think this death was pre-meditated.

He had become agitated around February 17 and was concerned about his weight. He agreed to attend the Bodiam Ward at the DGH before moving to the Heathfield Ward later on. The inquest heard he had left on a few occasions without permission. On March 8 he had gone into a bank with a stocking over his head but had then left without speaking to staff. He was deemed well enough to go to the shops on March 14 and the next morning but police were called shortly after midday after he failed to return to the DGH. A risk assessment had been carried out days before his death which said there was no suicidal risk.

Stephen Fulbrook, a security officer, tried to speak to Mr Marshall after he saw him look over the ramp. He said “I had a message to say he put a leg over the edge. I shouted ‘stop, and don’t do it’.” He told the inquest Mr Marshall, who looked frightened, then replied no before plunging to his death.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of suicide while the balance of the mind was disturbed.