A SOCIAL worker has been cleared of calling a mentally ill woman a “waste of space” just hours before she killed herself.
David Lawrence appeared before the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) facing allegations that he had made the outburst about Hannah Groves in a telephone conversation with a police detention officer.
He was accused of describing Hannah as a “waste of time, she’s an attention seeker” during the conversation on October 22, 2012.
But the HCPC panel ruled the allegation was “not well founded”.
The claims emerged during her inquest in July last year, in which coroner Keith Wiseman delivered a damning assessment of the mental health services during the week before her death.
As reported, Hannah was found dead at her mum’s Southampton home hours after being detained under the Mental Health Act at Southampton Central police station.
The 20-year-old foreign language student requested treatment at the Antelope House mental health unit in Southampton after making several attempts to take her own life in the week before she died.
She suffered a severe bout of depression in the fortnight before she was found hanged – despite never previously showing any sign of mental illness.
Police detained Hannah in the early hours of October 22 after she made threats to kill herself, but were told there was no room at Antelope House so she was taken to Southampton Central police station and was assessed by a mental health worker later that morning.
Mr Lawrence’s alleged comments were claimed to have been spoken at around 7am.
In a report published after the hearing, the HCPC states Mr Lawrence “denied” he had spoken the words in the allegation, and the panel found his explanation “plausible”.
It added: “The panel was impressed by Mr Lawrence’s evident sincerity, passion and sensitivity when he spoke about vulnerable service users and their needs, and the team’s responsibility to respond appropriately.
“In this case the time frame in which the offending words had to have been spoken is extremely brief, and covers the time period when night staff were engaged in handing over information and the team telephones to the day staff.
"The available documentary evidence of telephone calls and fob times did not clarify these relevant issues.
“The position is that Mr Lawrence is one of a number of people who might have spoken the words that were undoubtedly spoken.”