Ronnie Norman inquest: NHS could have done more for Tunbridge Wells father — (Kent and Sussex Courier)

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Kent and Sussex Courier

By MaryHarris

Posted: March 05, 2014

The NHS has admitted it could have done more to help father-of-eight Ronnie Norman who hanged himself at his High Brooms home.

Mr Norman drank a bottle of vodka, took tablets, put aside the clothes for his funeral and killed himself on December 8.

The 28-year-old of Hornbeam Avenue had a history of mental health problems and trying to kill himself but had been tipped over the edge after allegations of child sex offences against him last year and his children being taken away.

But at an inquest at Tunbridge Wells Coroner’s Court on Monday, the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust said more could have been done for him.

Quicker response with mental health services

It also said there had been a delay in allocating a case worker to Mr Norman, who had Tourette’s syndrome, panic and anxiety attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder and recurrent depression.

He had gone to accident and emergency at Tunbridge Wells Hospital three days before he died, saying he had flushed his medication down the toilet and needed to talk to someone and to have something to help him sleep.

He was seen by the crisis team psychiatric nurse. He told her he was not having thoughts of self-harm and had a friend staying with him. He was given a sedation to help him sleep.

The inquest heard a social worker had also left a message on Mr Norman’s telephone reminding him of his appointment on December 10.

Mr Norman’s sister Vanessa Palermo said at the inquest: “Why was he not sectioned?

“I spoke to police and the hospital and I told them my concerns.”

The trust’s Dr Jayaraj Devadass, who held appointments with Mr Norman at the trust’s Highlands House in Tunbridge Wells, explained that to section someone they must be at an “immediate risk” of harming themselves or others.

He added: “If a patient does not take his own medication, that is not a reason to be sectioned.”

Mrs Palermo added: “Why was he assessed at Highlands House last year as being low risk with his mental health history and the depression he was suffering after his children were taken in to care and all the allegations that were made?”


Mr Devadass said Mr Norman had been upgraded to medium risk following the allegations last summer.

The trust’s service manager Debra (corr) Martin said at the inquest: “It is possible that more thorough assessment of risk and a more timely involvement of additional support from mental health services may have led to a different outcome.

“Liaison with children and family social services team seems absent and would have also been essential to the assessment of needs, risk and care planning for Ronnie Norman, his carer and any assessing potential child safeguard factors.”

Mr Norman had left a note in his shirt pocket saying: “I don’t touch up children. It is not in me. I can’t take any more so I am best off out of it.”

Verdict: Suicide