AN aspiring biochemist died in a Hampshire hospital following more than six years of mental illness which may have been caused by taking legal highs.

James Younghusband was found hanged in his bedroom at a secure unit following a suicide attempt six days previously.

The inquest heard that he had ‘unshakeable beliefs’ that people were tampering with his brain.

The 30-year-old was transferred to Ravenswood House, near Fareham, from Winchester Prison in May 2012, following a conviction for arson in August 2011.

He set fire to a waste paper basket in his room at a hostel in Milton, claiming he heard voices that the managers wanted to kill him.

Mr Younghusband, originally from Fareham, studied forensic biochemistry at Portsmouth University, which is where his father and stepmother, Ron and Alison Younghusband, believe he started experimenting with legal highs.

“He enjoyed his life at university, especially the social life,” Mrs Younghusband said after the inquest.

“To have the social life he did he had to be up at all hours. He was taking stimulants but then found he couldn’t wind down, so took other things to counteract it.”

Daily Echo:
James, right, with Ron and Edward

Mr Younghusband senior said his son was “too intelligent for his own good” and considered whether he was testing drugs on himself.

The couple, of Titchfield Common, said they believe he bought the drugs including MKAT, which is now illegal, and Ivory Wave, over the Internet.

In 2011 he was sectioned at St James’ Hospital in Portsmouth, and doctors thought he had drug-induced psychosis, said consultant forensic physiatrist at Ravenswood House, Dr David Morton.

He was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Mr and Mrs Younghusband said they do not trust Ravenswood House.

The hearing heard Mr Younghusband junior was given incorrect drugs at least three times, records were not kept up to date, and his family was not regularly informed of his progress.

When he died on August 11 last year he was on 15-minute observations, but staff on Ashurst Ward did not think he was a suicide risk despite his records stating he had suicidal thoughts, was paranoid, impulsive, did not agree to his treatment, made ligatures and self-harmed.

Daily Echo:

James, left, with Alison, Ron, and Edward Younghusband in 2007

On the day he died he was pacing for five hours but staff did not think he was “showing risk behaviours”.

Giving evidence Dr Morton said: “With hindsight I wish we had put him on constant observations.”

It took the jury one hour to return an open verdict.

Deputy coroner for central Hampshire Simon Burge said the lack of contact between the hospital and family was “regrettable”.

He said: “The verdict means there is doubt on the jury’s part about whether James intended on this particular occasion to take his own life.”

After the hearing Mr Younghusband senior said: “We have to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

A spokesperson for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “James’ death was a tragedy and our thoughts continue to be with his family and friends at this difficult time.

“Safety is extremely important to us so any harm which occurs to people under our care we take very seriously. It is of the utmost importance that we, as an organisation, learn from this experience and ensure that similar incidents are avoided in the future wherever possible.”

Daily Echo: Daily Echo launches campaign to tighten law on sale of  'legal highs.

THE Daily Echo started its Say No to Legal Highs campaign in October 2013, calling for tighter laws on the sale of drugs.

It followed the deaths of three people from Hampshire in the previous 12 months.

Among them was schoolboy Adam Hunt, from Millbrook, who died in hospital five days after falling seriously ill after taking AMT and etizolam.

Trainee doctor Doug Ferguson, 19, from Chandler’s Ford, died after taking AMT in June 2012, while married father William Nutter, 32, from Andover, died after consuming AMT the following month.

A Government review was launched and was welcomed by Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes, Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead, Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine
and Cllr Royston Smith, Southampton City Council’s Conservative group leader.

They have all backed the Daily Echo’s campaign. Mr Brine intervened in the Commons to urge the Home Office to examine if the landmark 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act needs to be