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Woman, 50, killed herself at Sheffield hotel after being granted leave from Wedgwood mental health unit at West Suffolk Hospital




A Burwell woman drowned herself just hours after being granted leave from a mental health unit where she was being treated for depression.

Fifty-year-old Samantha Wigley, a para-legal who lived in Saxon Drive, was found by staff submerged face down in a bath in a room at the Crowne Plaza Royal Victoria Hotel, in Sheffield, in the early hours of January 26 this year. Also found was a ‘significant number’ of empty packs of prescription medication.

An inquest in Ipswich heard that the previous day she had been granted leave from the Wedgwood mental health unit at West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, where she had been a voluntary patient since January 9, having been admitted due to recurrent depression, low mood, and having active thoughts of taking her own life.

A Burwell woman drowned herself just hours after being granted leave from a mental health unit where she was being treated for depression.
A Burwell woman drowned herself just hours after being granted leave from a mental health unit where she was being treated for depression.

She told staff at the unit that she was going into town with a friend to go shopping and then planned to meet her daughter to go to the cinema. But the hearing was told that information had not been independently verified with her family ahead of the leave being granted.

Suffolk coroner Nigel Parsley said: “These were not Sam’s plans and, instead, she left the unit, went to Bury St Edmunds railway station and purchased a one-way ticket to Sheffield. Once in Sheffield she booked into the Crowne Plaza Royal Victoria Hotel.”

The hearing heard that on January 25 Mrs Wigley contacted her husband, Adrian, on a number of occasions between 4pm and 5pm.

Suffolk Coroners Court, in Ipswich, where a the coroner recorded a conclusion of suicide. Picture by Mark Westley.
Suffolk Coroners Court, in Ipswich, where a the coroner recorded a conclusion of suicide. Picture by Mark Westley.

“In some of those contacts Sam clearly indicated she was in the process of ending her own life,” said Mr Parsley.

A post incident review conducted by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust identified that an overall risk assessment leading to the decision to allow Mrs Wigley to have overnight leave had not been completed comprehensively by the multi-disciplinary team which authorised the leave.

“The granting of overnight leave to Sam may therefore not have been proportionate considering the high risk that she clearly posed to herself,” said Mr Parsley. “Whether or not Sam’s leave would have been granted on January 25 had a more thorough risk assessment been completed, could not be ascertained on the available evidence.”

The inquest heard Mrs Wigley had left letters in which she said she intended to take her own life and the reasons why. She also apologised to the hotel and emergency workers, who she knew would find her, and praised some of the staff at the Wedgwood unit for the care she had received there before her death.

The coroner ruled Mrs Wigley’s death was suicide.

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