'Bubbly, scatty' 23-year-old Suffolk woman died at Orwell Bridge

Maddy Skeet should have been provided with daily checks, Suffolk Coroners Court heard

Maddy Skeet should have been provided with daily checks, Suffolk Coroner's Court heard - Credit: Archant

A "bubbly, scatty" Ipswich woman should have been provided with better mental health care and daily checks prior to her death, an inquest heard. 

Maddy Skeet, 23, of Gippeswyk Road, died at the Orwell Bridge on August 22 following mental health issues that had resulted in her receiving care from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and spending time at Woodlands mental health clinic in Ipswich. 

However, her family told the hearing at Suffolk Coroner's Court that mental health professionals should have been conducting daily checks on her, adding she was "too vulnerable" to be left alone. 

They also said they were not provided with information about how they could manage her condition and help her cope with the problems she was experiencing, particularly imaginary voices that were giving her negative thoughts. 

Concerns were also raised that the keen artist, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was not being properly supervised during the three occasions she was admitted to the clinic and had been able to ‘abscond,’ resulting in staff not knowing where she was when her family called to check on her.  

At one point she had to visit Ipswich Hospital after self-harming, but was not sectioned under the Mental Health Act and instead advised to go voluntarily into care. 

Her father Simon Skeet said: “She was a lovely young lady. She loved fun and laughter, practical jokes. She loved her drawing. She was a bubbly, lovely, scatty child. Sometimes you could not understand what she was doing or why, but she was just full of beans.” 

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Her grandmother Jennifer Skeet, who helped support her, said, however, that her "super-intelligent" granddaughter would often "mask" her emotions by appearing to be happy and this may have misled mental health services to believe she was well in the run-up to her death, when she wasn’t. 

However, NSFT community mental health nurse Stuart Gregory, who helped care for Ms Skeet, described how her mood would often change and contacting her could be difficult at times, a situation that was not helped by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

He added General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) made it difficult to share information about her care with her family. 

Suffolk coroner Jacqueline Devonish recorded a verdict of suicide, but said she would include a narrative about the mental health issues she was experiencing which may have influenced her mindset.