Sussex

Janet Muller death: Killed woman 'wanted to leave clinic'

Janet Muller Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Janet Muller went missing from a mental health hospital in Hove on 12 March

A woman who went missing from a mental health hospital before she was found dead in a burnt-out car was "desperate to be discharged", a inquest has heard.

German national Janet Muller, 21, was found in the boot of a car near Horsham in March 2015 after she went missing from Mill View Hospital, Hove.

Sussex NHS staff told the inquest how she "went AWOL" before she died.

Last year, Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw, from Beckenham, London, was jailed for her manslaughter.

Dr Alexandra Joy, from Sussex NHS Partnership Trust, told the hearing in Crawley that Miss Muller had been admitted informally after her family grew concerned about her because she said she wanted to die.

She described Miss Muller's behaviour as "manic and disconnected" and said she was receiving medication and regular checks.

She said she did not know Miss Muller had left the clinic, and later heard about her death.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw claimed he did not know Janet Muller was in the car boot

Mental health nurse Philip Lamble said Miss Muller was "desperate to be discharged" on 11 March, so she could resume her university course.

He said she was pacing the corridors with a bag stating she wanted to leave and had said if she wasn't allowed to leave she would kill herself, after which he asked for her to be reviewed.

The inquest jury heard Miss Muller was nearly transferred to a facility in Eastbourne to be closer to her sister and friends, but was not able to do so, a decision that left her "disappointed and frustrated".

He read out notes from 12 March when Miss Muller went missing.

The inquest heard she was seen by a farmer and brought back to the ward and given medication and rest, but that night another patient confirmed she had climbed over a wall.

The next day, Miss Muller's body was found in the vehicle near Ifield Golf Club.

Mr Lamble said since then the trust had analysed numbers of absconding incidents, and the hospital now had a 15ft fence instead of a wall and an entry and exit fob system.

He said he believed it was now one of the "most secure" open wards.

The hearing continues.

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