A TROUBLED man was discharged as "low risk" by mental health workers just weeks before his body was discovered in the Tyne, an inquest heard.
Jake Walton, 22, had a history of mental health problems and was in regular contact with support workers, but an assessment carried out in May this year found him to be “low risk of self-harm, suicide or harm to others”.
Yet on Saturday, June 2 this year, his lifeless body was found in the River Tyne near to Newcastle Business Park on Skinnerburn Road, Newcastle, after members of the public reported seeing something floating in the water. Police, paramedics and fire service workers attended the scene, and it was later found there were no suspicious circumstances to his death.
His parents, Thomas and Julie, of Wark, Northumberland, told an inquest how they had planned to meet up with their son on the day he died. Julie said: “I saw Jake the weekend before and I saw him on the Tuesday morning and got him sorted with a place to stay, and I had an email from him arranging for me to meet him on the Friday or Saturday. I was waiting for an email to confirm where we were going to meet, but it never came.
“I believe he was working on the Friday, he was working at an agency for jobs. They told me that he had actually gone to work on the Friday and he had money.
“But I didn’t hear anything more from him apart from that message on the Thursday that we wanted to have a coffee on the Friday or Saturday.”
Jake, who was living at Tyneside Foyer, Westgate Road, Newcastle, at the time of his death, had spent the night before he died with a friend who lived in the same youth hostel. He was described as being “distressed” and “upset” in the hours leading up to his death but it was unclear why he was in this state.
Giving evidence at the Newcastle inquest, Acting Sergeant Andy Mellor, who launched an investigation following the discovery of Jake’s body, said: “There was a gentleman at Tyneside Foyer who had been in company with Jake the previous night and that day.
“He said for an unknown reason Jake had seemed very upset. He had tried to comfort him, but he was unresponsive. He left him in a distressed state, but Jake had not wanted to interact with him.”
Jake had tackled a string of mental health issues dating back two years which had seen him getting regular support from local psychiatric services, but earlier this year he had been discharged after a review from Gateshead Crisis team deemed him to be low risk.
It was just a few weeks later that Jake’s body was discovered in the River Tyne.
Pathologist Dr Nigel Kirkham confirmed that, although Jake had consumed some alcohol prior to him dying, the cause of death was drowning.
Coroner Karen Dilks recorded an open verdict.