Father blasts Priory after son, 23, was killed by train when he fled unit just two days after being admitted
- Matthew Caseby, 23, absconded from The Priory hospital on September 5
- He had been admitted two days earlier under the Mental Health Act
- He was hit by a train at 8.46am outside University Station in Birmingham
- Doctors learned that he had been hearing voices and receiving messages
- His father, Richard, told an inquiry that the hospital failed to keep his son safe
A personal trainer was killed by a train hours after he absconded from a Priory hospital, an inquest heard yesterday.
Matthew Caseby, 23, had been admitted as an NHS patient two days earlier under the Mental Health Act after police responded to a report of a trespasser on the railway.
The graduate’s father Richard, 61, told the court how the family were only fully told about the detention after his son vanished. The court heard that ‘sensitive, gentle and intelligent’ Mr Caseby had been having counselling since 2018. He had his last session in June 2020, three months before his death outside University Station in Birmingham, near where he had graduated with a first class history degree in 2018.
Matthew Caseby swimming in the sea off Brighton beach. He was described as ‘sensitive, gentle and intelligent’ and had graduated with a first class history degree in 2018
His father said the hospital authorities had a ‘basic legal duty… to keep our son safe and secure’. He told the jury: ‘They did not. They did not. There have been catastrophic consequences for Matthew, for me, for my wife and our two daughters.’
His son was detained on September 3, after a member of the public reported concerns. Mr Caseby was taken to a psychiatric hospital and sectioned the next day.
He told doctors he had been hearing voices and receiving messages and was moved to the Priory in Birmingham on the Saturday. His father said he and his wife Jo, 60, rang the Priory ‘about seven times’ that weekend, seeking and offering information on their son, but ‘none of this [information] was recorded by the hospital’.
They next heard from the hospital on the Monday after Mr Caseby had scaled a fence, having been left unattended. The family hurriedly printed ‘missing’ posters and headed to Birmingham from London.
File photo of The Priory Hospital in Birmingham, West Midlands. Matthew Caseby, 23, escaped from the hospital on September 5 and was killed by a train hours later
While searching near the hospital, Mr Caseby’s father flagged down three police cars and discovered none of the crews was looking for his son or was aware he was missing. Mr Caseby was only upgraded to a ‘high-risk missing person’ after a shift change at 7am – but by then 14 hours had been lost, his father said.
Before that Richard Caseby said he had spoken to a Priory worker who told him ‘people abscond all the time to get drink or drugs or see friends… they usually come back’. He said that comment remained ‘burned on my mind’.
His son was hit by a train at 8.46am. His father was 200 yards away, exploring a hunch that his son may have sought refuge near his old hall of residence. He found out what had happened after a 9am meeting with the Priory’s medical director who ‘assured me to my face that Matthew was a low suicide risk’. The inquest in Birmingham continues.
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