Care workers could not respond to 'crisis' as office was closing, inquest hears

A care worker from the controversial Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust told the daughter of a 74-year-old woman just hours before she fell to her death from a motorway bridge that they could not respond to a "crisis call" because the office was about to close for the day, an inquest has heard.

Marion Munns, a retired nurse, had previously been admitted to the Western Community Hospital in Southampton, Hampshire, for three months in 2014 for depression and had returned home after showing improvement - but her condition deteriorated again the following year.

The grandmother died on November 12 2015 after she had become distressed and escaped from her Southampton home through an upstairs window before climbing off the garage roof and running away.

Her body was found on the M27 motorway and the Winchester inquest heard that the mother-of-two died of severe multiple injuries.

Her husband, John Munns, said in a statement that her condition deteriorated during 2015 and her behaviour became increasingly "erratic", including an obsession with drinking water.

He said she had become "sullen and lethargic" and added: "She was zombie-like with no personality. This wasn't my Marion, she was deteriorating."

Her daughter, Kim Vella, 57, told the inquest that at 4.10pm on the day of her mother's death she received a telephone call from her in a "manic state".

She said she then called the older persons mental health care team, saying she was "extremely concerned", and was put through to her mother's carer, Emma Bulbrooke.

She said: "She was of the opinion that they were due to go out of hours and that it was best for me to make my way to the house and do the best I could. If I didn't like what I saw I was to call 999 but I wasn't told what to ask for. They were closing at 5 o'clock."

Mrs Vella said she then went to her parents' house, where she found her mother in an "uncontrollable state", accusing her and her father of "ganging up on her" and attempting to get her sectioned.

She said she did receive a call while at the house from Ms Bulbrooke but this had been passed to her father.

She said her mother attempted to hit her and, with her father, restrained her on the floor but she managed to escape when she went to get a phone to call 999.

Mrs Vella said she had been "shocked" by the response from the care provided to her mother in the weeks and months leading up to her death as she felt her case was not "prioritised" despite her deterioration.

Describing her mother before her illness, Mrs Vella said: "She was one of life's beautiful people."

Pathologist Dr Adnan Al-Badri told the inquest that toxicology tests carried out after Mrs Munns' death showed no trace of the anti-psychotic drug risperidone which she had been prescribed suggesting that she had not taken it for up to five days previously.

The inquest is expected to last for four days.