The Bucks Herald

Wednesday, February 6, 2002


Centre partly to blame for death says coroner

The death of an Aylesbury woman found hanged in a toilet was partly due to the neglect of staff at the Tindal Centre, an inquest has ruled.

Belinda Reynolds, of Chiltern Street, was found dead - on her 35th birthday - with her shoe laces wrapped around her neck and hanging from the door handle.

The inquest heard that Miss Reynolds had made a previous attempt on her life just two days earlier - with the same pair of shoelaces - at the centre, where she was being treated for depression.

But staff gave Miss Reynolds the laces back along with a penknife an hour-and-a-half before she took her own life on April 14th last year.

Bucks County Coroner Richard Hulett said Miss Reynolds' death had been contributed to by staff failing to pick up on her deteriorating condition and her increasing problems.

He recorded an open verdict and that her death and that her death was contributed to by neglect.

Mr Hulett added: "There is sufficient evidence here to say that the system is not working and it has failed."

The Inquest, in its second day, heard from Dr Lesley Robertson, a consultant psychiatrist at the centre, who said that Miss Reynolds had seemed in good spirits when she last saw her on April 9.

She said Miss Reynolds 'felt like a weight had been lifted from her', after she had been to Aylesbury Police Station earlier in the day to give a statement concerning an assault charge she was facing.

Dr Robertson described Miss Reynolds as having an unstable personality and prone to mood changes.

Tracy Evans, a ward manager at the centre, confirmed from records that the shoelaces had been handed in to staff by Miss Reynolds after an incident on April 12.

She revealed the laces were briefly given back to Miss Reynolds on April 13th but she returned them to staff the same day.

Nurse Emma Petrie gave the laces to Miss Reynolds again on April 14.

Miss Reynolds' mother, Helen, told the coroner that she had not found the staff helpful when she had visited her daughter.

She said: "In the whole time that I went visiting Belinda, I found that I had to find my own way to visit her.

"I just want to make the point I didn't feel welcome there."