Inquest hears of Romford man’s struggles with mental health

The grieving family of a Romford man are asking how he was able to end his life while in a mental health unit and being checked every 15 minutes.

Neil Challinor-Mooney died on November 18, 2018 aged 51, a few days after he was taken to A&E from Goodmayes Hospital in Redbridge, where he had been an in-patient for 18 days.

Neil’s sister, Marie Mooney-Evans, took him to the hospital on November 1 and told the jury at his inquest today (May 4) she had believed this was “the best place for him” to recover.

Neil, a 51-year-old panel beater who lived in supported housing in Romford, struggled with paranoia and had recently suffered a bad episode.

Marie said: “I thought putting Neil in [Goodmayes Hospital] was the best place for him, I thought they could keep him safe and get him the help he so desperately needed.

“I called the ward every day for an update and every time I was told he was fine and they would give me generic information.

“I was not informed of any ward meetings, which I now know I should have been, and I was never informed of the amount of times he was taken to A&E.

“They never informed me he had repeatedly expressed a desire to kill himself. If I had been told, I would have gone straight there and maybe we could have had him home, we could have done something.

“Neil had the rest of his life ahead of him, he had a family that loved him hugely, he was a son, a brother and an uncle.”

She explained to the jury that the family wants to know “what staff at Goodmayes Hospital did to protect Neil’s life”.

She said: “We believe, as a family, that Neil’s death was preventable. Neil was let down by the community mental health team and crisis team in the months leading up to his death.

“When, eventually, he was admitted to Goodmayes, we feel the clear risk to his life was not adequately dealt with. We are concerned that this will happen again unless changes are made.

“That’s what Neil would have wanted, he would want the changes to be made and for no other family to go through this.

“But ultimately, he should be here. He had so much more to give and I do believe that, if he had been given the proper care, we would have our fun-loving Neil with us.”

The court at Barking Town Hall will hear several days of evidence about Neil’s death and closing statements before the jury delivers its verdict on May 13.

Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter