Family of student who committed suicide in Brandon awarded compensation

The parents of a suicidal Cambridge University student who killed himself by jumping in front of a train after walking out of a psychiatric hospital have won their fight for compensation.

David Thompson, 21, was found on the tracks at Brandon Station hours after being allowed out unsupervised from Fulbourn Hospital in Cambridge.

Parents Ernie and Christine Thompson sued Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, accusing them of negligence.

Earlier this month health bosses agreed to pay a five-figure out-of-court settlement and introduce 40 improvements to the hospital's procedures. The trust has not admitted liability for Mr Thompson's death however.

The student, who was studying natural sciences at Corpus Christi College, had battled depression for three years.

An inquest at Norwich Crown Court in May this year heard Mr Thompson took his own life hours after he was released from the hospital despite pleas from his family he should not be let out unsupervised

His body was found 30 miles away on railway tracks at Brandon Station at 6.45pm on January 22. Coroner William Armstrong ruled it was suicide caused by mental illness.

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In a statement released by their solicitors Mr Thompson's parents said they could not forgive the hospital for their son's death.

They said: 'Having sat through the evidence from hospital staff at the inquest, it is our considered view that David never stood a chance of recovery with the indifference portrayed by each member of staff.

'The doctor in charge of the ward, and ultimately the person in charge of David's care, had been given specific information by David's Mum which we feel should have been acted upon enabling David to be cared for and kept safe from harm.

'Sadly the doctor chose to ignore our information and our wishes, something we cannot forgive. David had high potential in life and will be sadly missed by all of his family and friends.'

An external mental health review conducted after Mr Thompson's death made over 40 recommendations for change. But Mr Thompson's parents claim he should never have been granted unaccompanied leave.

They said the death was avoidable if medics had kept him in hospital so they could take him home to Northern Ireland to be treated by mental health specialists

A spokesman from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) said it offered its condolences to the Thompson family and added: 'In 2009, we invited Mental Health Strategies, an independent mental health consultancy, to review our handing of recent serious untoward incidents, including this case. Their report makes clear that there is notable good practice in CPFT's clinical care. There were recommendations from that report which we have acted upon.'