max temp: 12°C

min temp: 6°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: Inquest hears ‘significant’ changes have been made following teenager’s death at Wedgewood Unit

16:52 15 January 2014

Joe Ruler

Joe Ruler


The mother of a teenager who committed suicide at a mental health unit feels “disappointed” risks were known, but hoped changes sparked by his death would prevent similar tragedies.


Joe Ruler, 19, died at the Southgate Ward of the Wedgewood Unit in Bury St Edmunds, run by Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, at about 4.50pm on August 29, 2010.

Today’s inquest into his death heard he was found by staff hanging from a bathroom door using bed linen which had been tied to a door handle.

The ligature risks of the ensuite doors had been known several years before Mr Ruler’s suicide.

The tragedy sparked internal and external reviews, with “significant” changes made, including anti-ligature door handles fitted across the trust’s accommodation estate.

The inquest also heard Mr Ruler’s death had been a catalyst for broader improvements around the way the whole system is managed.

Medics had felt Mr Ruler had suffered from some kind of “personality disorder” - rather than a formal mental illness - and the inquest heard improvements had also been made around how to support people with these difficult conditions.

Following the inquest, which was held in Bury St Edmunds, Mr Ruler’s mother Dawn Brazier said: “I have found the evidence that I have heard today incredibly difficult to hear.

“Whilst I am disappointed that risks were known, but not acted upon I feel reassured that Joe’s death had sparked operational and systemic changes which I hope will prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.”

Deborah White, director of operations for the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our first thoughts are with the loved ones of Joe Ruler and everyone affected by this tragedy, including Mr Ruler’s family.

“We welcome this inquest and hope it goes some way to answering questions and giving reassurances of the action we have taken since Mr Ruler’s tragic death.

“I fully accept the coroner’s verdict, the findings of our own internal investigation and the external independent investigation.

“We have already implemented every single one of the reports’ recommendations and all have now been completed.

“The coroner has acknowledged the commitment of our senior management to continue improvements and I will ensure the lessons of this tragedy are never forgotten.”

Coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded a verdict that Mr Ruler took his own life.


1 comment

  • I appreciate that there must have been extensive enquiries but why does it take three and a half years before his inquest took place?

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The number of complaints about Abellio Greater Anglia has risen.

The number of complaints handled by rail operator Abellio Greater Anglia increased by nearly 26% during the first three months of the current financial year according to new figures from the Office for Rail and Road (ORR).

All of the alleged sexual assaults happened on buses in Suffolk.

More needs to be done to empower women in Suffolk to come forward about sexual assaults, a campaigner has said.

Friars Street shops in Sudbury.

A controversial proposal to merge a parish council in west Suffolk with a neighbouring town council has been rejected by members of both bodies.

Could Broomhill Pool be on the brink of restoration?

Hopes of restoring Ipswich’s Broomhill Pool have today received a huge boost with the news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has made an interim award to the project.

Broomhill pool from the air

As hopes of restoring Ipswich’s lido to its former glory take a step forward today, we look back at the pool’s past.

The launch of 'Pigs Gone Wild' at Trinity Park.

A piggie parade that is set to draw many visitors to Ipswich and raise £100,000 for a hospice charity took off in style last night at a glittering launch event.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service attended two road traffic collisions this evening.

Needham Road in Stowmarket where the crash took place

An 81-year-old cyclist who sustained serious injuries following a collision in Stowmarket last week has died.

Chelmsford Crown Court

Two teenagers that caused extensive burns to a Witham man’s face after throwing a corrosive liquid at him in a case of mistaken identity have been found guilty.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance is in attendance.

A woman has suffered a “potentially life-changing” head injury during a crash in Beccles.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages