Caister woman hanged herself in hospital room, despite being under observation, inquest told

A 24-year-old woman who was detained under the Mental Health Act at Great Yarmouth's Northgate Hospital hanged herself in her room, despite being under observation, an inquest heard.

Louise Noon, from Caister, suffered from bipolar disorder and died on July 23 last year.

An inquest into her death started in Norwich yesterday and heard that Miss Noon had a history of mental health difficulties and was admitted to the hospital on June 30 after she took an overdose.

She was detained under the act on July 20 after taking another overdose and her body was found in her room just three days later.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said the inquest had to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights, as Miss Noon had died whilst in state care.

Her doctor at Northgate hospital, Dr Larry Ayuba told the hearing, which is expected to last until Friday, that observation of Miss Noon had been reduced before her death, and that the procedure at the hospital had been changed since then.

He said that at a meeting with Miss Noon and her mother on July 20, the patient had wanted to go home and come back to hospital as a day care patient.

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He said: 'She said she wanted to go home because she was not happy on the ward. She told the psychologist that if she continued to stay at the hospital, she would rather hang herself.

'But I refused to let her go home because I felt she could no longer be managed as a patient outside the hospital. 'She was upset about this and started begging her mum to take her home, but her mum had no objection to her being detained.'

He said in a chat with staff on July 22 Miss Noon said she was upset about still being detained, but did not express any suicidal thoughts.

He said he was aware that she was not being watched by staff as frequently as before, but said he had not been involved in that decision, even though he was in charge of her. He said that 'things had since been reviewed' in the ward.

Pathologist Laszlo Igali, who carried out the post mortem examination, gave the cause of death as hanging. He said that the low level of anti-depressants found in Miss Noon's body suggested to him that she had not been taking the medication, but the court heard that this was not necessarily the case.

As previously reported, Louise's mother Claire Noon, from Caister, said she was hoping the inquest would provide answers to what happened to her beautiful daughter and reveal what more could have been done to prevent her suicide.

Mrs Noon has expressed concerns about her care – ranging from the frequency of checks to lack of awareness about her history among staff – and hopes any changes made as the result of Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust's review would benefit future patients.

The inquest continues.

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