Tributes to ‘creative’ and ‘kind’ young man found dead in woods near Eastbourne DGH

Daniel Holland, photo provided by his family
Daniel Holland, photo provided by his family

A ‘creative’, ‘kind’ and ‘always laughing’ young man was found dead on Eastbourne DGH grounds, an inquest heard yesterday (November 8).

Thirty-year-old Daniel Holland took his own life after going missing from the A&E department on January 11 this year.

Daniel Holland, photo provided by his family.

Daniel Holland, photo provided by his family.

An aspiring interior designer, his family described him as a ‘lovely’ and ‘creative’ person who ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly’.

Speaking after the inquest, Daniel’s auntie Rachel Smith said, “He was a lovely boy, he was very kind, he wouldn’t have hurt a fly.

“I hope something good comes out of something bad.

“It just shows, mental health should be looked at differently. Lessons can be learned, I hope.”

Daniel Holland, photo provided by his family

Daniel Holland, photo provided by his family

And his cousin, Carly Hardy, said, “He was always laughing at everything. He was really creative, he had just started sketching again.

“He wouldn’t have wanted anyone to worry, even though inside his head he was tormented.”

She added, “He wouldn’t have wanted anyone to worry about him, even the nurses.”

The inquest heard Daniel, from Chartham in Kent, suffered from depression and was on medication to help deal with this. It also heard, from his GP Dr R Wojcik, he had previously attempted to take his own life.

The shop assistant had been visiting Eastbourne with his partner Richard Schacht.

They had gone for a meal at Pomodoro e Mozzarella where he was ‘chatty, we were both in good spirits’ – according to Mr Schacht in a statement.

Mr Schacht said they arranged to stay the next night at a hotel in Brighton, and Daniel seemed ‘bright as a button’.

But later that night at their room in the Lansdowne Hotel, he was awoken by Daniel running a bath.

The statement said Mr Schacht went back to sleep and woke up again to Daniel collecting his things. 
“He said ‘I’m going, you don’t want me here’. He left,” said the statement. Later he received a number of texts from Daniel apologising and saying ‘everyone’s best off without me’.

At about 12.47am Daniel presented himself at A&E and told nurse Susan Bignell he felt suicidal.

He was passed into the care of Sharni Walker of the mental health team by 1.48am where he was assessed, the inquest heard.

She said, “I did feel at the time he was high risk.”

The inquest heard she left Daniel to arrange a hospital bed for him in Kent, but when she returned to the department at 3.30am he was gone.

Coroner Alan Craze said, “If you had been worried you could have got someone to stay with him. The decision to leave him alone was unfortunate in hindsight.”

To which the nurse responded, “If he had given any indication he wanted to leave I wouldn’t have left him. But he came to the hospital by himself. I was going to source a bed for him which is what he wanted.”

When she discovered he was missing, she called 999 and police launched a search for him.

Tragically Daniel’s body was found at around 10am the following day by students from Sussex Downs college, in trees next to the hospital.

A post mortem found he died from suspension.

A Serious Incident report by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust found a number of lessons had to be learned from Daniel’s death.

One was there should be an office space in the emergency department for mental health staff. This has been put in place at Eastbourne DGH, the inquest heard.

Another would be to allow anyone with mental health issues in A&E to go to an urgent care lounge in the department of psychiatry.

Mr Craze concluded Daniel died by suicide.

He expressed his sympathies and condolences to the family.

• If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the Samaritans may be able to help – the charity’s helpline number is 116 123.