Conclusion of the inquest into the death of Alexander Dowds

10 April 2019

The Senior Coroner for Suffolk delivered his conclusions in the inquest into the death of Alexander Dowds. Mr Dowds was hit by a car on the A14 near Ipswich on 15 March 2017. Earlier that day, Mr Dowds had been given a lift home by police officers from Suffolk Constabulary. The officers determined that Mr Dowds did not meet the threshold for detention under s.136 of the Mental Health Act 1983. In coming to this decision, the officers consulted with a mental health nurse stationed at the Constabulary’s Command and Control Room (CCR). The stationing of a mental health nurse at the CCR was established by a partnership working scheme encompassing Suffolk Police, Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, supported by East Suffolk & Ipswich and West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The Coroner did not (and was not invited to) reach any findings critical of the police officers, nor the Constabulary. The Coroner noted that Mr Dowds’ mental health had deteriorated in the months before his death and that there had been a missed opportunity by healthcare workers to undertake a mental health assessment. However, it was not possible to determine whether such an assessment could have prevented Mr Dowds’ death. The Coroner concluded that Mr Dowds died as a result of suicide which was triggered by unmedicated mental illness.

Remi Reichhold acted for the Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary 

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