"I have been robbed of my son" says heartbroken dad of Blackpool man who killed himself after hospital discharged him

The dad of a man who killed himself just one week after being released from a hospital mental health ward said his son would still be alive had he been allowed to remain in Blackpool with the support of his family, instead of being transferred 80 miles away.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st October 2021, 1:42 pm
Garry Mulcahy

Garry Mulcahy, 34, was found hanged at his Warbreck Drive flat on June 4, seven days after he was discharged from Lynfield Mount hospital in Bradford.

The dad of two, who had a history of mental health problems and drug addiction, had been admitted to the hospital following a suicide attempt on May 17. He wanted to remain with his family in Blackpool, but was sent to Bradford as he was still registered to a GP in Halifax, where he used to live.

His dad, Garry Lee, 62, said he believes his son would still be alive had he been allowed to remain in the resort, where he could be supported.

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He said: "We did everything we possibly could to get Garry the care and attention he needed. He came here for help, he went to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and he was transferred to Bradford, which isolated him from his family.

"It has devastated us. It has felled me. When I wake up in the morning it's like I have no energy. I know I did everything I could for my son and they let him down, and that's why I'm frustrated.

"My son didn't want to end his life. He wanted to get his life back. If he had been here, if he had been left in Blackpool, we wouldn't have had this. It drives me to the point of despair, the stress and frustration it has caused. The last few months have been the hardest part of my life."

Mr Lee said his son's mental health problems began when he became addicted to alcohol and cocaine when he was just 18-years-old.

At an inquest, the court heard how Mr Mulcahy's struggles with drugs had led to him getting in trouble with the law, eventually leading to limited contact with his six-year-old son.

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: "My son was fighting with his conscience and having to live with the reality of what he had done under the influence of drugs. He wasn't in his right frame of mind; he was sending me messages that didn't make any sense. My phone was blowing up 24 hours a day. I don't believe Garry should have been in prison. He desperately needed help in a mental health hospital.

"My son, at the age of 18, in his first year of business as a window fitter turned over £100,000, and was named Apprentice of the Year. We could see what destruction the drugs caused.

"I lost contact with Garry for years because of his drug use. But he came to us for help. He couldn't eat, he couldn't sleep. He was having panic attacks. He knew what he had done and he had to cope with all the grief that came with that. It was the cocaine and the alcohol that caused his mental health problems."

During his time at Lynfield Mount, Dr Suresh Bhoskar, a psychiatrist at the hospital, found that he 'had a significant loss of role of himself both as a father and within the community following his release from prison', and was suffering mentally as a result.

He was prescribed antidepressants, and was discharged on May 27 after doctors reported his condition had improved.

Mr Lee said: "To say he had some improvement after just 10 days is absolutely ridiculous. My son was going through anxiety, he had a nervous stomach which meant he couldn't eat.

"I'm not saying they killed him. What I'm saying is they didn't help the situation. Garry was struggling on May 17 when the hospital admitted him, and he was still struggling on June 4 when he killed himself.

"Blackpool Vic did everything they should. The doctors were all on the same page, there was no confusion. The nurses did their utmost to help us and keep us informed. Had Garry been allowed to remain at the Vic, I think we would be telling a different story.

"I just think if we had been involved as a family, things wouldn't have gone down this route."

He said there were 'lessons to be learned' from his son's tragic death, but added: "There will be more people like this over the years. It will be the same scripture we're hearing, but different victims. Garry went through years and years of drug abuse. Common sense tells you that you can't clear that up in just a few months. I have been robbed of my son - not by the mental health service, but by the people who have sold him cocaine."

A spokesman for Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “We express our deepest condolences to the family at this sad time. We’d like to give our reassurances that we take issues of patient safety very seriously. In cases such as this a thorough review would always be undertaken to establish the facts and identify any learning from this incident to make improvements to the service involved.”