Inquest begins into death of decorator who died at home

Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, recorded a verdict of accidental death at the inquest of Wil

The inquest into the death of Oliver Heywood opened in Norwich - Credit: Simon Parkin

The mother of a decorator who died at home has called for a change in the law to make it possible to section people with addictions.

Oliver Heywood died aged 41 on January 19 this year in hospital three days after being found in Bramfield Close in Norwich, where he lived.

A three-day inquest into the death of Mr Heywood, who grew up in the Gorleston area, opened on Monday and heard he had a history of alcohol dependency.

Norfolk Coroner's Court heard about an incident last summer involving Mr Heywood which saw police called over reports he had a knife and had felt suicidal.

His sister Virginia Williams said the last time she heard from her brother he had shared concerns over his mental health.

She added that his behaviour "presented a real threat to himself and others".

She said attitudes needed to change in the health care system in relation to people like her brother, who she described as "kind and funny".

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Mr Heywood's mother Barbara Marshall is looking for the law to be changed so people with addictions can be sectioned to try and keep them safe.

She said: "I am trying to look for a better solution."

At the hearing she asked Mr Heywood's Gorleston GP, Dr Daniel O'Donnell, whether it could be introduced.

He said: "I think it is a huge area that would need considerable expertise to come up with the right situation."

Dr O'Donnell said that if Mr Heywood had told him he was going to take his life he would have urgently referred him to a crisis team.

In November 2020 a mental health nurse at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) carried out an interview with Mr Heywood and he was offered the chance of telephone support.

Mr Heywood had also referred himself to Change Grow, Live, an alcohol and drug behaviour service.

At the time of his death it said it had placed a significant level of resource into helping him, and had contacted other agencies to escalate his case, with a case worker concerned over his wellbeing.

The inquest is due to finish on Wednesday.

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