A GRANDMOTHER killed herself while on day release from a mental health ward, an inquest ruled.

Despite being on suicide watch just two days earlier Valerie Dimoglou was allowed to leave alone for 12 hours.

She was terrified about being discharged and had threatened to kill herself if she was forced to leave the ward permanently.

The 76-year-old was found dead later that day in her Old Heath Road home after taking an overdose, on October 9.

The North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust admitted it had been working on plans to discharge her.

Following a three day inquest, which ended yesterday, the jury ruled the mother-of-four killed herself while suffering from recurrent depressive disorder.

Mrs Dimoglou had been a voluntary patient at the mental health Hennage Ward at the Kingswood Centre, Turner Road for about a year.

During the inquest the trust was criticised for its risk management procedures and leave arrangements, described as “ad-hoc”, but was not deemed to have “more than minimally contributed to her death”.

A police investigation also ruled there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.

Her children disagree and are considering taking legal action.

Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray, summing up at Essex Coroner’s Court yesterday, told the jury: “You heard Det Chief Insp Marina Erikson had led a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.

“Three possible offences were considered, gross negligence manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and perverting the course of justice.

“She said there was insufficient evidence to proceed with any of these and no further action was taken by Essex Police.”

In the days before her death Mrs Dimoglou had been heard speaking on the phone stating “they are getting ready to kick me out, I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to go home”.

An independent psychiatrist said the decision to allow day release was “difficult” but not “irresponsible or illogical”.

A spokesman for the trust said: “We deeply regret the tragic death.

“The death of any patient in our care is fully investigated and all learning from each event is implemented.

“Mrs Dimoglou had been with us on Hennage Ward for some time and was ready to be discharged.

“We were working through discharge plans with her, including looking for a more suitable long term placement, for her when this happened.”

Son Pablo, 48, claimed vital witnesses were kept away from the inquest and claims the trust was more worried about freeing up a bed than caring for their mother.

Val, as she was known, a former restaurant manager at Williams & Griffin, suffered from severe depression for a number of years.

Mr Dimoglou said: “She was not a surprise suicide. She was telling people she was going to do it but nobody was listening to her.”

The family made several allegations against the NHS and an internal investigation is taking place at the trust.

Essex Police was asked if any investigations were ongoing but did not respond before the paper went to press.

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray urged the trust to make changes.

She said: “The court was pleased to see the action plan.

“There must be learning points from cases like these.”

She also urged the trust to read the “very comprehensive and perceptive report” by an independent psychiatrist to prevent yet another death in similar circumstances.

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