Death in custody of mental health patient

originally published by: BBC News
26th July 2010

It cannot bear the hallmarks of timely or equitable justice when the State takes five full years to deliver a satisfactory explanation to a family, when a vulnerable relative has been deprived of their liberty and they then die in unexpected circumstances whilst in NHS care.

Statement from Claire Murdoch, Chief Executive, Central North West London Hospital Foundation Trust:

“I would like to extend our condolences to Mr. Rahel’s family and assure them that we will do all we can to help them answer any remaining questions they might have in relation to his untimely and tragic death five years ago.

We are continuing to work with the Trust, which was responsible for the service at the time, to ensure that we, with their help, are able to address any unanswered issues to ensure that all possible lessons are learned and shared for the benefit of future patients and their families.

Yesterday’s inquest verdict will obviously be of enormous help in informing our next steps and we will keep Mr Rahel’s family closely informed of our progress.”

Kirpal Rahel was a very bright man. He graduated from Kings College Cambridge University in 1984 with a degree in history and launched himself on a career as a teacher.

Marriage and starting a family started not long after. Unfortunately, so did the emergence of psychiatric illness. By 1985 he was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and manic depression.

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