Death of man hit by car on A14 was suicide, coroner concludes

The Coroners Court at Beacon House, White House Road, Ipswich

The Coroners Court at Beacon House, White House Road, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

An inquest into the death of a man who died after being hit by a car on the A14 has concluded it was suicide.

Alex Dowds, 32, of Melrose Gardens, who had suffered with his mental health, died on March 15, 2017, after being struck by a Nissan Primera on the eastbound carriageway near Nacton.

The court inquest had heard emergency services were called to the scene at around 8.15pm but despite the best efforts of ambulance staff Mr Dowds could not be saved.

A post-mortem examination revealed he died of multiple injuries.

The inquest had heard Mr Dowds had a long-running battle with his mental health and had been diagnosed with catatonic depression, as well as being on the autism spectrum.

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His mother Helen told the inquest through a statement that her son’s mental health had been deteriorating in the weeks before his death.

Concluding the inquest today, senior coroner Nigel Parsley said the fact Mr Dowds had not had a recent assessment following his deterioration of his mental health was a “missed opportunity” but said it couldn’t be established on the evidence whether or not it would have prevented his death.

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The inquest has also heard that officers from Suffolk police had picked up Mr Dowds from the Orwell Bridge just hours before the tragedy and had taken him home rather than detaining him under their Mental Health Act powers.

Mr Dowds had instead been referred for a follow-up meeting the next day.

The inquest heard that an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission had deemed the correct procedure had been followed and that their actions were appropriate.

On the second day of the inquest, Patricia Long, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT), director of operations, said the trust had completed a Serious Investigation Review following Mr Dowd’s death. The report stated that an application for a full mental assessment should have been made sooner for Mr Dowds, but Mr Parsley said he could not say whether this would have prevented his death.

He said the court could not use the benefit of hindsight and must view actions as they were taken at the time.

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