Leeds student found dead at mental health unit ‘should have been under 24 hour watch’ - inquest told

Katie Hamilton, 26, was studying at Leeds University.
Katie Hamilton, 26, was studying at Leeds University.

A CONSULTANT forensic psychiatrist told a jury inquest he believed a woman who died after being found with a ligature around her neck at a mental health unit in Leeds should have been under 24-hour observation.

Expert witness Dr Christopher Green said that in his opinion it was not appropriate that Leeds University student Katie Hamilton had been placed on 15-minute observations after being admitted to the Becklin Centre on March 9 2016.

The inquest at Wakefield Coroner’s Court has heard the 26-year-old, from Newcastle was put under observation every 15 minutes after being transferred from intensive care at hospital where she was being treated after swallowing amyl nitrite.

The jury was told she had made attempts to self harm in hospital before she was admitted to the Becklin Centre. She was found in her room at the Becklin Centre with a ligature around her neck at 10.10pm on March 9.

Staff immediately began resuscitation efforts and she taken to Leeds General Infirmary, where she died from a brain injury caused by lack of oxygen on March 12.

Dr Green told the inquest: “My view is that it was not appropriate at that point on 15 minute observations.” Dr Green added: “The only way to keep her safe was to put her on 24-hour observations.”

Miss Hamilton, who was in the final year of a philosophy and social policy degree, had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and had been admitted to the Becklin Centre at least 22 times between 2011 and 2016.

Katie’s mother Emma Hamilton previously told the inquest said she warned Becklin Centre staff that observations every 15 minutes were not sufficient. Proceeding

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