Connect with us


Motive behind tragic suicide ‘remains unclear’, says Coroner



Unit where Laura Hill had been treated

Unit where Laura Hill had been treated

THE REASON why 21-year-old Laura Hill took her own life ‘remains unclear’, the deputy coroner for Pembrokeshire has ruled. 

The body of Laura Hill, 21, from Neyland, was found by members of the public on 17 December, 2012.

At the inquest on Friday (Feb 20), Deputy Coroner Gareth Lewis said: “Miss Hill suspended herself from the branch of a tree in a wooden area near to Withybush Hospital, but the question of intent remains unclear”.

Tragic : Laura Hill

Tragic : Laura Hill

Earlier in 2012, Miss Hill, who was from Neyland, had suffered the loss of her baby son and she had struggled to come to terms with this.

She had been admitted to Withybush Hospital on December 11, after taking an overdose of prescription tablets and she was later transferred to Bro Cerwyn Hospital.

However, on the night of December 16, Laura absconded and she was found hanged the following morning by members of the public.

Among his findings, the deputy coroner highlighted evidence from a psychiatrist, Dr Shubulade Smith, who said that Miss Hill was suffering from Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD).

Reading out the facts of the case, Gareth Lewis said: “On December 11, 2012, Miss Hill was admitted to Withybush General Hospital after taking a large overdose of prescription tablets.

“Miss Hill remained as an inpatient at the Hospital until December 15, at which point she was transferred to Bro Cerwyn Hospital.

“On arrival at the hospital it was felt that she would benefit from admission in view of her depression, substance misuse, unresolved bereavement issues and her recent suicide attempt.

“Dr Athithan described her as having a varied suicide risk and placed her on level two 15 observations. She was described as bright, jovial and interacted well with others.

“At 19:15, Miss Hill asked to leave the ward in order to source some heroin. Staff on the ward tried to dissuade Miss Hill from leaving but she was adamant that she wanted to leave and she discharged herself against medical advice.

“In the early of hours of December 16, 2012, police had cause to carry out a welfare check in relation to Miss Hill. Officers were concerned that Miss Hill presented a danger to herself and detained her under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

“Miss Hill was readmitted to the ward at 02.29hrs on December 16. On arrival she was assessed by Dr Athithan as being emotional, in a distressed state, sobbing and tearful. He suggested that if she tried to leave the ward they should use their holding powers under the Mental Health Act.

“At 14:45 on December 16, Miss Hill walked out of the ward and left the grounds of the hospital. Miss Hill was followed by two members of staff who persuaded her to return to the ward.

“Shortly after taking her medication at 18:15, Miss Hill absconded from the ward again and could not be located. Police were alerted to this and an immediate search was undertaken.

“Miss Hill’s body was found by members of the public at approximately 07:55 on December 17, 2012. She was suspended from a branch of tree with a blue nylon rope around her neck. The cause of death from a post mortem examination was found to be hanging.

“My findings are as follows: The decision to allow Miss Hill to leave the ward on December 15 against medical advice was probably right even if undesirable in the circumstances.

“When Miss Hill was returned to the ward by police there was a significant breakdown in the exchange of information under the section 136 handing over process.

“There was a failure to report Miss Hill’s attempt to abscond at 14:45 on December 16 to Dr Athithan despite his recommendation that if Miss Hill tried to abscond, consideration needed to be given to the use of holding powers. There was a clear lack of appreciation amongst the staff on the ward as to the meaning of the word abscond and because Miss Hill came back to the ward this was not perceived to be an attempt to abscond.

“Miss Hill’s mental state should have been, but was not, reviewed when she returned to the ward after absconding.

“The staff failed to appreciate that level two 15 observations were clearly insufficient to prevent Miss Hill leaving the ward. Miss Hill was only seen to be leaving the ward by fellow patients.

“There needed to be a system to monitor access and egress from the ward. Dr Smith commented during his evidence: ‘You cannot just let people come and go as they please, there needs to be someone in control of the door’, if this was in place it would have been considerably more difficult  for Miss Hill to have absconded from the ward.

“Staffing levels at the ward were such that it would have been difficult to put Miss Hill on level 3 even if this had been considered appropriate.

“There was a lack of joined up thinking between the members of the mental health teams working with Miss Hill. Dr Smith felt that the mental health teams never looked behind Miss Hill’s substance misuse. Dr Smith commented in his evidence that ‘undoubtedly, Miss Hill was suffering from Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder’.

“One of the main features of EUPD is a tendency to act impulsively without consideration of the consequences. In her evidence she stated that it was very difficult to say whether she intended to kill herself.

At the end of the inquest Mr Lewis added that he would be exercising his powers under regulation 28 to send the report to prevent future deaths to the Hywel Dda Health Board and Welsh Government’s Improving Patient Safety team. He highlighted that his letter would surround training needs, lack of policy regarding access and egress and staffing ratios.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Return of Walk and Talk group for Dementia Action Week



THE PEMBROKESHIRE Walk and Talk Group will make its return next week, coinciding with Dementia Action Week which runs from May 17-24.

Several events are being held across Pembrokeshire and the UK and PAVS has announced two Walk and Talk sessions.

One will be held in the South of the County in Begelly on Wednesday, May 19, and one in the North of the County in Newport on Thursday, May 20.

Walk and Talk is a dementia supportive group. The group provides the opportunity to socialise, improve your physical and mental wellbeing and at the same time enjoy the wonderful Pembrokeshire scenery. There will be walk and talk groups every week starting from next week.

Places are limited and will be on a first come first served basis,  to book a place on these walks please contact Cherry Evans on 07849 086009 or email

Dementia Action Week aims to promote and make people aware that with the right support, people living with dementia can live a good quality of life doing what matters most to them for as long as possible.

One in fourteen people over the age of 65 are living with Dementia and approximately 42,000 people in Wales have Dementia. 65% of people living with dementia are women and 35% men

The covid-19 pandemic meant that many groups and clubs had to shut down and that has made things difficult for those people living with dementia.

People were left isolated and feeling lonely but thanks to modern technology they have been able to keep many in contact with those groups and their loved ones.

Throughout Dementia Action Week there will be daily interviews on the radio station Pure West Radio with lots of information about the activities and points of reference for support across Pembrokeshire.

These daily interviews will cover everything from diagnosing dementia, support, carers perspectives and even the power of music. You can listen to these each day at 11.15am Monday to Friday and at 2.15pm on Saturday and Sunday

If you fancy trying out a ‘tea and natter’ session on Zoom on Tuesday, May 18, at 2.30pm please contact Cherry Evans on 07849 086009 or email

Continue Reading


Cllr Mike James is new Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council




Cllr Mike James became Chairman at the virtual Annual Meeting of Council today (Friday, May 14) following an extended period as Vice Chairman due to the Covid-19 situation.

Cllr James, who represents St Dogmaels, moves into the Chairman’s seat vacated by Cllr Simon Hancock.

Cllr Pat Davies was appointed Vice-Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council.

At the same meeting Cllr Hancock was appointed Presiding Member for the coming year.

Cllr James joined Pembrokeshire County Council in 2010 and has previously served as Chairman of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Chairman of National Park Wales.

Cllr James said: “I feel very privileged to be appointed Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council.

“I always try to achieve the best in my life and this is right up there at the top.

“I hope I can achieve the high standard set by Councillors who have been Chairman before me. Councillor Simon Hancock most certainly accomplished that standard.”

Cllr James is married to Sian and they have two daughters, Fern James and Rhiannon Lloyd.

Born and bred in St Dogmaels, Cllr James attended Ysgol Llandudoch and Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi.

He worked for 32 years at Slimma/Dewhirst Cardigan and for four years as an LSA in Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn.

Cllr James has also served as Clerk to St Dogmaels Community Council, as the Carers Champion for Pembrokeshire County Council and as a representative on numerous other committees and sub-committees.

A member of Cardigan Rugby Club Male Voice Choir, Cllr James also sits on the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel.

Cllr James added: “The last 14 months have not been easy for many people. I hope there is a light at the end of a long tunnel where we can meet and speak to loved ones again.

“I am a people’s person and I hope, if I am allowed, to have the opportunity to meet and talk to as many residents in Pembrokeshire as possible.”

Continue Reading


New international travel rules for Wales confirmed by First Minister



International travel will restart for people in Wales from Monday 17 May, the Welsh Government has confirmed today.

As part of changes to Wales’ coronavirus regulations, people living in Wales will be able to travel to some overseas destinations without the need to quarantine on their return.

But additional safeguards will be put in place to help prevent new cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

A traffic lights system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red, depending on their rates of coronavirus.

Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

 “Wales, like other parts of the UK, will be restarting international travel. But protecting people’s health continues to be our top priority and we want to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from being re-imported into Wales.

 “This will not be like travel in the past. Everyone travelling abroad will have to have a test when they come home and for many people, they will need to quarantine when they get home. There are significant fines in place for those who do not follow the legal requirements.

“Some countries are not yet opening up travel to people from the UK. It’s my strong advice that this is the year to stay at home and enjoy all that Wales has to offer.”

Under the international travel rules:

• People arriving from green-list countries are not required to quarantine on their return to Wales, but they must book and pay for a mandatory PCR test on or before day two of their return. All travellers and members of their household will also be reminded about the availability of additional lateral flow tests to continue to monitor their health.

• People arriving from amber-list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days at home on their return. This is a legal requirement. They are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and on day eight. Unlike in England, Wales does not operate a test-to-release scheme where an additional test can be taken on day five to reduce the period of quarantine. This is because some 30% of people who develop Covid-19 do so after day five.

• People arriving from countries on the red list are required to quarantine for a full 10 days on arrival in the UK at a designated UK port in a government-managed facility – a ‘covid hotel’ – at their own cost, starting from £1,750 per person. All UK entry points for arrivals from red-list countries are in England and Scotland, which means Welsh residents returning from those countries will need to quarantine outside Wales. Travellers are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and day eight.

All those who do not follow the rules for red-list countries face fixed notice penalties of £10,000.

Welsh residents must also consult the requirements for visitors for any country they plan to travel to. Restrictions may be in place, including proof of vaccination, tests, quarantine and reasons for entry.

Vaccination status certificates will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses of their vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof from Monday 24 May.

The First Minister added:

“We call on people to think about whether they need to travel overseas at this time. We should be cautious about going abroad in light of the ongoing risk of coronavirus and the presence of variants of concern in many countries.

“My clear message to everyone is make Wales your destination of choice this year.”

Continue Reading
News10 hours ago

Cllr Mike James is new Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has a new Chairman. Cllr Mike James became Chairman at the virtual Annual Meeting of Council today...

News10 hours ago

New international travel rules for Wales confirmed by First Minister

International travel will restart for people in Wales from Monday 17 May, the Welsh Government has confirmed today. As part...

News1 day ago

Permit applications open for Tenby pedestrianisation scheme

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is now accepting applications for vehicle access during this year’s Pedestrianisation of Tenby. The scheme, which is...

News3 days ago

Public engagement exercise over new hospital between St Clears and Narberth

HYWEL DDA is asking the people of Pembrokeshire to help it further shape and deliver future services by taking part...

News3 days ago

Police looking for a couple with a dog after teenage girl bitten in Haverfordwest

POLICE hunting for the owners of a ‘pitbull’ type dog which bit a teenage girl in Haverfordwest last month. Dyfed-Powys...

Business4 days ago

An experimental nuclear fusion reactor could be built in Pembrokeshire

PEMBROKESHIRE could be the location of an experimental nuclear fusion reactor, which could produce abundent clean energy, if the council...

News4 days ago

Graffiti damages area of scientific and historical interest in Pembrokeshire

GRAFFITI painted on stones of historical and environmental importance at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has caused environmental damage that could...

News5 days ago

Plaid’s Dafydd Llywelyn re-elected as Police and Crime Commissioner

THE NEW Police and Crime Commissioner for the Dyfed Powys Area has been announced. Incumbent, Dafydd Llywelyn, of Plaid Cymru...

News6 days ago

Mark Drakeford says: ‘Thank you Wales for going red’

LABOUR is staying in power in Wales after matching its best-ever Senedd election result. It won exactly half of the...

News1 week ago

Conservatives hold on to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat

THE CONSERVATIVES have held on to their Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat despite Labour closing the gap. Sam Kurtz...

Popular This Week