Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

Suffolk: Inquiry after ‘suicidal’ crash man dies while awaiting sentence for seriously injuring family

12:18 14 January 2014

Inquiry into suicidal man

Inquiry into suicidal man's death while awaiting sentence

Archant

An inquiry is under way after a suicidal man who seriously injured a family of five in a car crash died in the care of mental health professionals before his sentencing.

shares

David Smith took his mother’s VW Golf without permission before ramming it into a Toyota Yaris, in an attempt to take his own life at the A11 Elveden crossroads, near Thetford, on January 5 last year.

When The 29-year-old appeared before Ipswich Crown Court to plead guilty to dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking he was said to have had a morbid fascination with killing himself.

Although Smith sustained relatively minor injuries, he left the occupants of the Toyota requiring emergency treatment.

A girl, aged 13, suffered a dislocated hip. Another girl, aged 15, sustained a fractured arm, a bleed on the brain and a fractured facial bone, while a 19-year-old woman had a fractured leg.

A 49-year-old man had fractures to the base of his spine, legs and chest, while a 48-year-old woman sustained fractures and a dislocated elbow. All were from Gillingham in Kent.

After Smith’s guilty plea in August he was released into the residential care of mental health specialists in Coventry.

It was intended that he be brought back to Ipswich Crown Court, but the sentencing never went ahead. The case was subsequently closed.

It has now emerged Smith, formerly of Central Avenue, Coventry, died on October 11 last year at University Hospital in Clifford Bridge Road, Coventry.

At the time Smith – who was originally arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, was being treated by the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.

A full inquest is still to held, although a hearing is scheduled to take place at Coventry Magistrates Court next Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the coroner in Coventry said the initial cause of death has been given as external compression of the neck.

An inquiry has also begun at the health trust.

A spokesman for the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “Any unexpected death of a patient in our care will be the subject of a formal, internal investigation in which we try to learn any lessons that might arise from the events that took place.

“We will also co-operate fully with any external investigation that police, the coroner or any other agency need to carry out.

“At present, we are awaiting the outcome of the coroner’s inquest into this case, and so have no further comment to make at this time.”

At Smith’s plea hearing, his barrister Steven Dyble, the court his client had suffered from schizophrenia for the last decade and had a “morbid fascination” with killing himself.

The court was also told Smith was trying to kill himself at the moment the A11 crash took place.

Judge David Goodin adjourned the case for psychiatric reports to be prepared, with a view to the court making a hospital order under the Mental Health Act.

Smith, who only had a provisional driving licence, also pleaded guilty to driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and having no insurance.

shares

0 comments

The female driver of the car was not injured but shaken.

A lorry reportedly failed to stop after colliding with a car on the A14 near the Wherstead turnoff.

From left to right: Moira Ely, Leah Fuller and Colin Ely presenting the cheque for £2,000 to St Elizabeth Hospice after Colin's bungee jump in July

An Ipswich landlady has vowed to follow in the footsteps of her extraordinary dad – and tackle a charity bungee jump for St Elizabeth Hospice.

Spooky costumes on the beach at Felixstowe to launch the Halloween walk for EACH

A charity walk will light up Felixstowe’s promenade with its Halloween theme when it takes place next month.

Police are appealing for witnesses after the burglary of the social club of a business premises in Ipswich.

Allison Heathcote and son James Heathcote at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, where she was treated after being shot five times in the Tunisia terror attacks.

A Felixstowe woman who was fighting for her life after the Tunisia beach attack in which her husband was killed has said she can only “vaguely recall” the massacre.

Andrew Renton takes his first public walk at a neuro conference with the help of Headway Physiotherapist Karen Hardy, left, and Acquired Brain Injury Support Worker Chloe Witton, right.

For most of us walking is a luxury too easily taken for granted.

Cars for sale at the roadside

Trading Standards experts have revealed the top 10 most frequent consumer complaints.

Mars

A physicist who worked on a high-resolution camera that sent images back from Mars has turned his hand to writing.

Fire crews were called to Fraser House in Museum Street, Ipswich after a suspected gas leak was reported

A road in Ipswich has been reopened after a suspected gas leak forced the evacuation of a three storey building this morning.

Should Britain do more?

The public reaction to Europe’s migration crisis has been deeply polarised, but should Britain do more to offer homes to Syrian refugees affected by civil war?

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages