Family seek answers over stalwart’s suicide

Ronald Fagan and his family
Ronald Fagan and his family

THE family of a former cub scout leader, who hanged himself after being allowed to go for a walk outside the hospital where he was being treated, are considering legal action against the NHS.

Father of two Ronald Fagan, 48, had attempted suicide twice in the run-up to his death on October 30 last year, when he hanged himself over a stream in Kislingbury.

Mental health doctors on call had downgraded his security status and staff let him go for a walk after he insisted he would not harm himself.

After Wednesday’s inquest, the family’s solicitor Christopher Hurlston, said they are considering civil action against the Northants Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Wife Dianne Fagan said: “Ron meant the world to us. Although he had a long history of depression, he always tried to live a full life. His death has had a devastating effect on the entire family, especially our two children Alex and Charlotte, who miss him so much.”

Mr Fagan maintained the Christmas lights in Towcester town centre, was a leader in the local cubs group and helped run Towcester Youth Coffee Shop. The inquest heard he had a long history of mental health problems, suffered severe depression and had recently attempted an overdose in his car in a Northampton lay-by. Despite being sectioned six days before his death after threatening to jump from a motorway bridge, Mr Fagan had been placed on an unlocked ‘open’ ward at Berrywood Hospital in Duston. On October 29 he told staff he was going for a walk but he later phoned and said he had a rope and intended to hang himself, then ended the call. His body was later found by a dog walker.

A spokesman for the health trust extended its sincere condolences to Mr Fagan’s family and added: “Our staff were shocked at Mr Fagan’s sad death which has been the subject of a full investigation but we are unable at this time to comment on any patient’s specific care and treatment.”

Coroner Anne Pember recorded a verdict that he had killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed.