Blackpool man hospitalised after suicide attempt killed himself seven days after being sent home

A Blackpool man who was checked into a Bradford hospital after attempting suicide killed himself just one week after he was discharged.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 4:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 4:25 pm

Garry Mulcahy, 34, was checked into the Lynfield Mount Hospital on May 17 after attempting to hang himself at his Warbreck Drive flat in North Shore.

He was discharged on May 27 after doctors determined his mental health had improved, and he returned to Blackpool. Later that same day, he called his father, Garry Lee,

He continued to experience low mood, anxiety and paranoia for several days. On June 4, he spoke with Mr Lee on the phone and told him he had been suffering from panic attacks and severe paranoia. When Mr Lee later couldn't get in touch with his son, he went to his flat, which was locked. He got in touch with the landlord, and together they entered the property, where they found Mr Mulcahy hanged.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Garry Mulcahy

Police and paramedics were called, and Mr Mulachy was pronounced dead at the scene at around 6.30pm.

An inquest this week heard that Mr Mulcahy had moved to Blackpool from Halifax shortly after being released from a stint in prison, and was struggling to readjust.

He had been arrested in September 2020 after causing £20,000 worth of criminal damage to a house in Clayton, Bradford, by intentionally flooding it after his landlord moved to have him evicted for not paying rent.

While on bail for the damage, he broke into his ex-partner's house, stole her handbag and car keys and drove off in her car.

Mr Lee said he son was suffering 'spiritually' as he believed he had 'made a mess of his life'.

The court heard the 34-year-old had a history of cocaine and alcohol abuse, and had limited contact with his six-year-old son due to his past criminal activities.

His father said: "The plan was to get Garry stable so we could work with Garry, along with the rest of the members of the family, to get him back to how he should be. Garry had a lot of work to do and he had to do it himself. But he needed stabilising."

Mr Mulcahy was admitted to Lynfield Mount after appearing at Blackpool A&E with ligature marks on his neck following a reported suicide attempt.

Dr Suresh Bhoskar, a psychiatrist at the hospital, said: "Garry had a significant loss of role of himself both as a father and within the community following his release from prison. On the ward we had seen him to be bright, interactive with others, and with no specific symptoms of paranoia. When discussing his loss he would feel anxious about how he would manage. He talked about support from his brother and father in Blackpool.

"We did not observe any alarming behaviour from him. In fact, we noticed it got to the point where he was quite bored on the ward."

Mr Mulcahy was discharged on May 27 with seven days worth of pills, which the doctor said were prescribed in small batches to avoid the risk of overdose.

His mum, Christine Mulachy, said: "The day Garry was discharged from hospital he rang me, very frightened. He said 'Mum, they're discharging me today, I'm scared, I'm not ready."

But Dr Bhoskar said that Mr Mulcahy had wanted to leave.

The day after Mr Mulcahy returned to Blackpool, on May 28, he was visited by two nurses from the mental health team, who found that he was 'free of suicidal ideation', and a decision was made not to offer any further support to him.

A later investigation, headed by psychologist Dr James Hoy, found this was a missed opportunity in Mr Mulcahy's care. Dr Hoy said: "The view was if we look at the context, we have a man who has recently made quite a serious attempt to end his life. He presented at A&E with a burn mark on his neck from a ligature attempt, which is a very serious form of self harm. We knew that he had social difficulties which were all unresolved. He had some time in hospital which may well have been beneficial to him and he had been started on some medication, but only recently, and given these factors and the seriousness of the attempt, the fact that nothing clearly had changed for him, a longer period of time to assess him in the community should have been done."

He was taken to Blackpool A&E by his father on May 30, where he was given some sleeping pills.

On June 1, he was seen by a GP at the Layton Medican Centre, who prescribed him antidepressants.

Mr Lee said: "I don't believe this was the correct medication. What we have to appreciate is anti-depressants take a long time to work. Three days, he's going to show no progress whatsoever."

Mr Mulcahy continued to communicate with his family, complaining of panic attacks, paranoia, anxiety and poor sleep, until around 11am on June 4, when he last spoke with his father.

Investigating police officers said there were no suspicious circumstances involved in Mr Mulcahy's death.

Handing down a conclusion of suicide, coroner Alan Wilson said: "One of the consistent themes in this hearing has been the support Garry had from his family, and it is clear for the inquest the concern and affection and everybody had for him."

Mrs Mulcahy slammed the Bradford hospital for discharging her son just ten days after he was admitted following his suicide attempt.

She said: "The system has killed my son and he's dead, and they get to walk away scot-free. It will be somebody else's son or daughter. Somebody else will be here tomorrow."

The Samaritans mental health charity hotline can be reached on 116 123.