Sister pays tribute to ‘loving’ Worthing man

Court
Court

Tributes have been paid to a ‘caring and thoughtful’ brother who took his own life after suffering with depression.

Luke Walls, 28, of Bramley Road, Worthing, who also had agoraphobia – fear of open or public places – and suffered with anxiety, died on July 1, 2015.

An inquest in to his death was held at Centenary House in Worthing on January 28.

Luke’s sister, Chantelle Richardson, paid tribute to her brother. “He was very loving,” she said.

“He was outgoing – he was always the happy one. He was caring, thoughtful and loved gaming. He was still going out, but he wouldn’t go out without someone.”

Ms Richardson said her brother was recently ‘forced’ to move out of his flat in Bognor Regis.

“It is a big stress on someone who is agoraphobic,” she said.

She added Luke’s death came as the ‘biggest shock’. “I would never have imagined it. He was ringing my dad every day, he was gaming, ordering takeaways,” Ms Richardson told the inquest.

Mr Walls was referred to mental health services by his GP, Dr Christian Arnold, but although help was offered, the inquest heard Luke ‘declined’ support after previous ‘bad experiences’ with mental health professionals.

By the end of March, Luke accepted help from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services, and agreed to a telephone consultation with psychiatrist Dr Hadi, where an increase in his medication was agreed.

However, Dr Karen Henderson questioned why Mr Walls, whose condition meant he struggled to leave the house, was not assessed face-to-face.

Dr Hadi said when he spoke to Mr Walls he was ‘affable and insightful’ and was deemed to have capacity to make choices about his own care. He said he believed the aim of the consultation was to discuss medication.

Dr Arnold told the inquest: “Telephone assessments are now part of how the NHS is working due to the demands put upon us. It is part of how we assess patients.”

He said the surgery in Broadwater, Worthing as looking at how records for patients who are at risk of self harming can be improved.

Dr Karen Henderson, assistant coroner for West Sussex, said: “It appears that there was some kind of slight communication difficulty from primary to secondary care.”

She said while a decision had been made for the psychiatrist to have a conversation about increasing medication, there could have been a further exploration’ of Mr Walls’ symptoms.

Dr Henderson said she was ‘disappointed’ about the quality of evidence provided by the psychiatrist, adding she expected people to come to an inquest and talk ‘fluently’.

“Luke did make a number of phone calls to the GP and he did need not acknowledge any concerns about his personal wellbeing.

“He was a caring and committed son and brother but he felt he wasn’t able to talk about it to his family.”

Results of a post mortem confirmed Mr Walls died of an overdose of prescribed medication.

Returning a conclusion of suicide, Dr Henderson said she believed Luke intended to take his own life.

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