March 12 2018
Last Thursday, 42-year-old Joanne Finch appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court, charged with the murder of her 8-year-old son, Brodie Moran (right).
The previous day, police officers had attended their home in nearby Tootgarook, where they found Brodie’s body. Joanne was arrested at the scene.
At court, Joanne (left) made no application for bail. Her lawyer told the magistrate that it was her first time in custody. He also said that Joanne was on the antidepressant Effexor (Venlafaxine) with a dose of 150mg per day.
Joanne will appear via video link for the next hearing, scheduled for June.
March 8 2018
On October 26th last year, Lara Thwaites received a message which caused her to be concerned about the welfare of her 16-year-old son James (right). She returned to their home immediately to discover James hanging by the stairs. An air ambulance was summoned, and James was rushed from Tollesbury to Chelmsford Hospital. Tragically, he died three days later.
The court heard that James had been involved with the services of NELFT, which provides a range of mental health services in the area.
EssexLive reported: “Although the hearing did not go into great detail about the mental health issues suffered by James, the court heard he had ‘impulsive behaviour’, ‘possible emotional personality disorder’, and underwent therapy.”
The report makes no mention of any medication which James would, almost inevitably, have been prescribed.
The coroner found that there was not enough proof to suggest that James had deliberately intended to take his own life. “I’m going to record an open conclusion,” she said, “We haven’t got all the bits of the jigsaw – we will never quite know what was going through his mind on that evening.”
(Update: the following day, I received an email confirming that James was, in fact, taking antidepressants at the time of his death)
February 20 2018
Just a week after the inquest of Edward Ketchen (see below), the Archbishop’s Palace (right) in Maidstone was once again the venue for the inquest into the self-inflicted death of a Kent schoolboy.
On October 23rd last year, 14-year-old Brandon Warren was found hanged in his bedroom in the village of Elvington. Brandon had attended Dover Christ Church Academy, where he was described as “a wonderful student and dear friend to many, a hardworking and amiable young man.”
Coroner Eileen Sproson told those present at yesterday’s inquest that: “Brandon was initially referred to his then GP in 2014 at the age of 11-years-old, where he reported a change of mood. He had an inability to sleep and loss of appetite following starting secondary school.”
No details of the nature of his treatment during the next three years was reported, but: “In April 2017, he was expressing suicidal thoughts and was on the waiting list for assessment by the young person’s mental health service. His GP sent an urgent letter, stating Brandon was expressing suicidal thoughts stating he wanted to drink bleach.”
On October 2nd, Brandon’s GP sent another urgent letter, and Brandon attended a risk assessment on October 13th,where: “He showed low mood and anxiety and was deemed a medium level of risk.” He was then sent for a psychiatry assessment, which he did not attend, on October 23 – tragically, the day he died. After Brandon’s death, police officers found images of self-harm on his phone.
If Ms Sproson made any mention of medication prescribed to Brandon during the months leading up to his death, it was not reported in Kent Live.
Concluding the inquest with a narrative verdict, Ms Sproson said: “It’s clear there have been incidents of self-harm. However, there was no inclination of him to take his own life. My view is there is no evidence that he intended the consequence of using that ligature would be his own death.”
February 13 2018
One afternoon in September last year, Edward Ketchen hanged himself in the garden shed at his home after returning home from Ashford School (left).
Yesterday, an inquest in Maidstone heard that the 17-year-old student had suffered with “emotional anger” and “mental health issues” for a number of years.
In July last year, two months before his death, Edward was assessed by a psychiatrist at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at Lenworth Clinic. It was noted that Edward was disappointed at being rejected from joining the British Army because he suffered with “visual impairment”. He was found to be at “low risk of suicide”.
Edward’s mother Camilla told the inquest: “Edward had three known previous suicide attempts. He had regularly self-harmed. But he did not have a mental health disorder according to CAMHS and was considered as being at low risk of suicide. In my book, there is no such thing of low risk of suicide if they are self-harming.”
Edward’s father Lyndon paid tribute to his “quirky” and “intelligent” son. He said: “Edward had a way of bringing abstract ideas together and making sense of it. He was very supportive, he was a person who would give you his last sweet if he could – he was very generous like that. But he was obviously troubled. Being rejected from the army was one underlying cause for why he felt the way he did.”
Coroner Geoffrey Smith recorded a verdict of suicide, saying: “Edward was labouring under fluctuating mental health…It may well be that there are issues appropriately raised with Lenworth and others. His parents feel let down by the adolescent mental health services and I appreciate that issue may be taken further but it is beyond the scope of this inquest. I do not know if there could have been a relapse predicted by the services.”
The coroner did not appear to consider that Edward’s tragic “relapse” may have been linked to a prescription of psychotropic medication, by far the most common cause of suicide in adolescents.
January 31 2018
Researchers analyzed data between 1999 and 2013, a timespan in which the number of prescriptions in Sweden rose by 270%, and in which the percentage of young women who were prescribed antidepressants increased from 1.4% to 5%.
Approximately 500 young women took their lives during this time period, and because toxicological analyses were performed post-mortem, researchers could determine if these women were on antidepressants at the time of death.
The researchers found that, as antidepressant prescriptions increased, suicide rates also increased. They also discovered that more than half of the young women who took their lives were prescribed antidepressants within a year of their death.
Kelly commented: “Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised when we learn that throwing more of the same failed medicine at the very problem created bythe failed medicine – well, it doesn’t actually work. Herein lies the thinly-veiled agenda of the industry: use the shortcomings of the intervention (in this case, continued and worsened depressive symptoms) to justify further interventions (more medications for all).”
January 20 2018
On October 2nd last year, musician Tom Petty (left) died in hospital after being found unconscious at his home in Malibu. He was 66.
According to a statement issued by his family yesterday, Tom died of an accidental overdose of medication. The Los Angeles coroner’s office attributed his death to “multisystem organ failure” due to a “mixed toxicity” of seven medications.
January 8 2018
An inquest in Birmingham on Friday heard that 12-year-old schoolboy Connor Robertson was found hanged at his home following an argument with his parents over using a computer.
Connor’s mother Jacqueline told the court that her son was a lovely boy and “was an active child, a bit of a joker who loved his computers.” She said he had been diagnosed with ADHD in 2011 and was on medication.
The weekend before he died, the family had gone on a holiday in Wales. “There was no indication whatsoever he would do anything like that,” Jacqueline said, “We got back and we had a lovely weekend. I cannot understand it.”
Shortly after arriving home on October 23rd last year, Connor asked if he could have his laptop, He was refused and he went upstairs. He was found by his brother.
In her conclusion, Coroner Louise Hunt (right) said: “We know Connor suffered from ADHD. He lived with his brother at home and we know he was on medication for his disorder. It seems as if things were settling down a little bit.” She gave the medical cause of death as hanging and concluded: “He suffered from ADHD which could make him impulsive.”