Ex-soldier found hanging at home in Colne
10:30pm Thursday 11th June 2009
THE family of a former soldier who was found hanging in his home in Colne said more could have been done to prevent his death.
Michael Crusham, 54 of Peel Road, had barricaded himself in his home and hanged himself only hours after being let out of a psychiatric ward on February 3.
Mr Crusham, a security worker at Woodhead Brothers slaughterhouse, had previously taken an overdose and twice been admitted into hospital saying that he feared he would harm himself, an inquest heard.
Speaking at the hearing at Burnley Magistrates’ Court, his family told of how Mr Crusham had been allowed to go home unaccompanied from a psychiatric ward at Burnley General Hospital, despite having suicidal thoughts.
The family had been expecting a call from the hospital to say he had left for the day visit.
Mr Crusham was on anti-depressants after suffering from depression after leaving the Army, for whom he had served in Northern Ireland.
He had also had a knee operation which left him unable to even ride a bike.
His brother Dominic told the inquest: “He was meant to be meeting me at my mum’s at 1pm but he didn’t show.
“I phoned his mobile but he didn’t answer, it just kept ringing and ringing. I phoned the ward and they said he had called them to let them know he was home at 10.40am.
“I nipped over to his flat but I knew straight away what I was going to find, but just not the way I did. I forced entry and found him hanging, so called 999.”
He added “I don’t understand how the hospital say he could have been jolly and happy with them when he made the call to say he was home, or why they didn’t call us to say when he had left the ward like they said they would.”
Dr Thya Han, consultant psychiatrist at Burnley General Hospital, said: “Through the assessments he undertook it was established that he was well enough to leave the ward unaccompanied for the day on February 3.”
Mark Williams, deputy coroner for East Lancashire, said: “On February 3 Mr Crusham had been an inpatient at Burnley General Hospital.
He was given unattended leave to go home where he barricaded himself in and hung himself. The extent he went to proves he was intending to take his own life.”
After the inquest his family said that his death could have been avoided, and they were looking at taking legal action.
His brother Dominic added: “I will always remember him as one of the funniest guys I have ever met he was the life and soul.”