Essex

Man died after leaving mental health unit against advice

Lee Evans Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Lee Evans was found dead the day after Essex Police were refused the loan of thermal imaging cameras by Essex Fire Service

A man found dead in secluded woodland had discharged himself from a mental health unit against medical advice a month earlier, an inquest has heard.

Lee Evans, 23, was reported missing from his home in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, on 13 August and was found dead by a passer-by in Orsett the next day.

Senior Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray concluded he killed himself.

The Chelmsford inquest heard Mr Evans was admitted to a mental health assessment unit on 17 July.

He had a history of asthma and depression, the hearing was told.

Tara Merrill, who investigated the Essex Partnership University Trust's handling of the case, said Mr Evans left the unit in the middle of the night against the advice of doctors.

"It was deemed there was no reason to detain him in hospital under the Mental Health Act," she said. "He very much wanted to leave."

'Very dark place'

The BBC previously revealed how Essex Fire Service had refused a police request for thermal imaging kit it needed to help in its search for Mr Evans, who was classed as a "high risk" missing person.

Mr Evans' mother Emma told the hearing her son, who had recently had a relationship break-up, was in a "very dark place" at the time of his death.

When he left the family home in August he told his sister Casey that "he could not do this any more".

Essex Partnership University Trust made a number of recommendations in light of the case, including making discharge assessments more robust.

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