Death of man who fell after leaving care home accidental, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 05:30 04 March 2019

The Orwell Care Home near Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

The Orwell Care Home near Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT


The death of an Ipswich man who fell twice after he managed to leave his care home was accidental, an inquest has heard.

Peter Cousins, who was living with dementia, died on June 4, 2018, after falling on a path near his care home.

An inquest into his death took place at Suffolk Coroners’ Court last week and Senior Coroner Nigel Parsley concluded that Mr Cousins’ death was accidental.

The 84-year-old was last seen at The Orwell Care Home in Wherstead by care workers between 7.30pm and 8pm in a communal area, the day before he died.

However, Mr Cousins managed to get out of the home and fell on a neighbouring path in a field, the inquest heard.

He managed to get back up again before falling further along the path, where he was found in the early hours of morning by police officers.

Mr Parsley offered his condolences to Mr Cousins’ family before outlining evidence supplied by members of the emergency services who attended the scene.

Officers searched the area around the home in the early hours of June 4 before discovering the body of a man who matched Mr Cousins’ description at around 1.20am.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and was later identified by his wife.

The court heard that staff at the home were still unsure how Mr Cousins got out.

The front door was opened by a code – however, it was being changed on the day Mr Cousins went missing and so they could not tell if he left via the front door.

There was also a wall around the back of the property that was only a foot tall, however, to get to it, Mr Cousins would have had to scale another 4ft fence.

He had been known to try and follow care workers out of the front door, Mr Parsley explained.

A post-mortem examination showed there was no third party involvement in the incident and that the medical cause of death was asphyxiation, caused by soil in his mouth.

Following the incident, the care home investigated their practices.

A spokeswoman for the home said: “We wish to offer our sincere condolences to Mr Cousins’ wife and family at this difficult time. Residents’ safety and security remain our absolute priority at The Orwell.”

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