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Family 'feel let down' over 23-year-old's death after police left him in A&E, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 16:59 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:16 18 July 2019

Lee Lewis, 23, from Norwich, died after falling onto the A47 near Easton, an inquest at Norfolk Coroners' Court heard on Wednesday, July 17. Photo: Supplied by Mr Lewis'  family

Lee Lewis, 23, from Norwich, died after falling onto the A47 near Easton, an inquest at Norfolk Coroners' Court heard on Wednesday, July 17. Photo: Supplied by Mr Lewis' family

Archant

The family of a "funny, lovable" 23-year-old who died after falling onto the A47 said they felt let down after he was left at A&E by police hours after threatening to harm himself, an inquest heard.

Lee Lewis, who lived at Cavalry Ride, Norwich, died at a Norfolk hospital in the early hours of October 23, 2018, after falling onto the A47 the previous evening.

Mr Lewis, a car delivery driver, was suffering paranoid thoughts and had called police to his home.

He was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) where he was left in the care of A&E department staff.

But Mr Lewis' stepfather Kevin Kippin told the inquest: "We weren't pleased at all about the police handover at the hospital.

"He wanted help and we felt if one of us had been there with him at the time we would have stayed.

"We feel quite let down by that."

Norfolk police inspector Lucy King, told the inquest, at Norfolk Coroner's Court, on Wednesday, July 17, that police were working with the county's hospitals on a handover form for when police transport vulnerable patients.

READ MORE: Young father died hours after being taken to A&E by police officers

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She said: "We have developed a draft form [and] I'm now taking forward the actions required to achieve implementation."

Gemma Lawrence, mental health matron at the NNUH, also told the inquest A&E staff had received further training and mental health staff were based in the department's new quiet zone.

Mr Lewis, who was father to a two-year-old son, also did not receive a psychiatric consultation from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), despite being referred for an appointment.

Rachel Morris, community team manager at NSFT, said changes had been made to ensure requests were not missed, including holding discussions at weekly multi-disciplinary team meetings.

She said: "People have a lot more confidence in the system."

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Lewis' sister, Daisy Kippin, 18, said: "He was such a funny, lovable person who always managed to lighten things up."

READ MORE: Young father died hours after being taken to A&E by police officers

His mother, Karen Kippin, added: "He was the type who helped everyone else. If someone broke down he'd be first to stop."

The family also thanked the drivers who stopped at the scene of Mr Lewis' fall, near Easton.

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake recorded a narrative conclusion that Mr Lewis died due to fatal injuries after a fall from a height.

She did not issue a prevention of future deaths report.

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