"Lessons to be learned" from suicide of "beautiful and caring" Worthing woman

A CORONER said there were "lessons to be learned" from the tragic suicide of a popular Worthing care worker.

Stacey Pearce, 26, was described as "a beautiful, caring daughter" by her parents after Friday's inquest at Horsham Magistrates' Court.

Speaking during the hearing, Michael Pearce, Stacey's father, said his family had "begged" psychiatrists to detain Stacey under the Mental Health Act after a series of suicide attempts, but that "nobody listened to us".

"We knew she would try it again eventually," said Mr Pearce. "We hoped she would get married and have children, but it wasn't to be."

The court heard how Stacey was found dead at her Tarring Road flat on the evening of March 26, by boyfriend William Geyelin. She had hanged herself.

Mr Pearce said doctors looking after Stacey, who suffered from a rare and incurable mental condition, did not speak to her family, something which he believes could have helped his daughter's treatment.

Dr Arun Kishore, a consultant psychiatrist, said Stacey suffered from habit and impulse control disorder she kept well-concealed from those around her, an illness which could cause her to spontaneously try and harm herself when alone.

He said Stacey was considered to be improving at the time of her death and was not considered to be enough of a risk to herself or others to be sectioned.

He said the family could not be more involved for confidentiality reasons, as Stacey did not want them told about her treatment.

But Mr Pearce, and Stacey's boss Mary Williamson, a psychiatric nurse who runs the Care Active agency, said doctors needed only to listen to the family's concerns about Stacey, there was no need to volunteer confidential information.

Assistant coroner David Skipp recorded a verdict that Stacey took her own life and told the family: "When she was in hospital I think there was a problem in communication and liaison between you as a family and the the hospital.

"I think that led to difficulties in understanding what was happening.

"I think there are lessons to be learned. I'm sure there are lessons to be learned, and I hope and trust they will be as a result of this tragic situation."

Mr Pearce said: "Stacey was a beautiful, caring daughter who cared for others all the time. She spent her life caring for others and was seriously let down by the mental health team."

Ms Williamson added: "She was vivacious, funny, and the most beautiful girl. She was a fantastic carer. No matter where she worked, they wanted her back again.

"There was never a bad word ever said about her."

Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, which provides mental health services in Sussex, said in a statement: "This is a terrible tragedy and Sussex Partnership NHS Trust extends its sympathies to Ms Pearce's family, at what must be a very difficult time.

"The trust has listened to what the coroner has said and will study the full report to ensure any recommendations made are acted upon."

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