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By Mia De Graaf
Samantha Maritza admitted to St George’s Hospital, Stafford, in May 2010
- Had tried to hang herself, was sectioned after further 6 attempts on her life
- Within a month she was let out alone for 2 hours, stepped in front of train
- Parents have received five-figure sum from hospital which denied liability
A singer who killed herself while on leave from hospital had been sectioned after attempting suicide six times in three weeks.
Samantha Maritza was killed when she stepped in front of a train travelling at 125mph in June 2010.
It was just hours after the 21-year-old was released from St George’s Hospital in Stafford on unescorted leave.
Miss Maritza, the lead singer of up-and-coming electro band China Red, had been admitted to the ward the previous month when she tried to hang herself.
After a further six attempts on her own life in three weeks – and diary entries mentioning trains – she was sectioned.
But within a month, she was being prepared for unaccompanied day release away from medical staff and family.
Despite warning their daughter wasn’t ready, her parents claim their protestations went unnoticed.
Later that day it emerged that she had died in a fatal collision with a train at Lichfield Trent Valley and was able to be identified by her treble clef tattoo.
Today, her parents, Stephen, 57, and Joan, 55, have been paid a five-figure sum after launching a negligence claim against the hospital.
South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust settled with them out of court after refusing to accept liability.
Miss Maritza, a trainee hairdresser, had suffered from depression for two years before her death.
But despite being on anti-depressants, she dedicated her time to mentoring young musicians who lacked confidence.
An inquest in 2011 found Sam killed herself while mentally unwell and her devastated family, including her brother Billy, 20, and sister Jamie, 23, launched a negligence claim against the hospital.
The hospital did not admit liability and settled out of court.
Amanda Godfrey, spokeswoman for South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘We are truly saddened by the death of Samantha and our condolences go to her family.
‘We have also recently introduced a new clinical information system which will allow all staff to have access to electronic health records, offering more comprehensive and up to the minute detail on each patient.’
Now her family are hoping to use the money to raise awareness about mental health problems, including contributing to the memorial fund they set up in her name – The Sam Maritza Trust.
They are calling for changes to the procedures and care in relation to unescorted leave as they believe more families could be saved from the grief they have experience.
Stephen said: ‘We were hoping that this would be a warning for the hospital but we don’t think it has.
‘Sam was in the worst situation possible to be left on her own.
‘Although we were hoping that things were getting better and she was coming back to us, we weren’t even sure if she was taking her medication.
‘It just didn’t add up and we can’t believe that letting her out alone was a risk they were prepared to take. The anger that came with our grief was horrific.
‘We just wish they had given one more day to improve before she was let out on her own. It’s too late for Sam, we just hope we might be able to help someone else, to show that mental health problems are an illness not a weakness that needs to be hidden.’