When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
'Secrets and lies' behind suicide of Robert Small at St Denys train station, says mother
THE grieving mother of a graphic designer who died after being hit by a train has made an emotional plea to health professionals to lift the veil of patient confidentiality.
Diane Small warned doctors at the Southampton inquest into the death of her son Robert that more lives could be lost unless families are more involved in their loved ones’ care.
The inquest heard how the former Portchester Secondary School pupil had attempted suicide in August last year but a psychologist ruled he was at “low risk” of self harming again.
But Mrs Small, from Bitterne Road, Portchester, told the inquest her son regularly used cannabis since he was 14 and drank heavily in his teens. She said: “The health people could have got this information by talking to me and asking me to find out about his other life.
“Please, please include all the family and friends, people who would have Rob’s best interests to heart.
“Listen and learn. I will not let this beautiful young man’s life be in vain, I owe it to his family and friends in challenging patient confidentiality.
“It’s a problem that isn’t helping people help their loved ones.”
She branded cannabis a “gateway drug” leading to harder drugs and added: “It changes the brain, which can’t be reversed at an early age.
“It’s a dangerous drug especially for young people.”
The inquest heard how Robert, also described by his mother as “a real joker” and “loved by everyone”, had taken Ecstasy, cocaine and LSD in the past and was using amphetamines for weight loss and had been diagnosed with depression.
Dr Sharn Bratton, who assessed him at the Osborn Centre in Fareham, told the inquest she had declared him as “low risk” of harming again. She added: “He didn’t appear to be actively suicidal and it appeared he was steadily improving and making plans for the future.”
But he was pronounced dead at the station five months later after making his way from the platform to the tracks.
A post-mortem by pathologist Bryan Green revealed Mr Small suffered multiple injuries in the collision but that traces of amphetamines found in his urine signalled previous rather than recent use.
Recording a suicide verdict, Southampton deputy coroner Gordon Denson said: “I am satisfied that he took the actions with the intention of taking his own life.”
Mrs Small said afterwards: “If a young child was trying to cross the road you would try to stop them.
“He was over 18 but his mind wasn’t working properly. It’s secrets and lies that have killed my son.”