Charity worker died three days after release from mental health service

The inquest into the death was held at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

The inquest into the death was held at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A Sudbury charity worker was found dead at her place of work three days after a five-week stay at a mental health care unit, an inquest has heard.

However, the coroner decided Sarah Fernandez had not taken her own life but it was more likely misadventure.

On January 11, 2021, 28-year-old Sarah had been in good spirits and told her mother she would be home for lunch after she had dropped off a furlough letter at her work.

After not returning for lunch and missing an appointment with a health care professional, a search began. She was sadly found dead at the property of Number 72 - The Family and Community Network building.

Her mother, Vanessa Smith, said Sarah would "light up the room when she walked in because of her big smile and outgoing personality."

Sarah had previously been admitted into the Wedgwood House mental health unit in Bury St Edmunds in June 2020 after her first psychotic episode - where it was reported she was hearing demonic voices.

On December 1 she voluntarily admitted herself after suffering from suicidal thoughts.

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It was noted during this period at difficult times she would occasionally use a ligature around her neck as some sort of release, though the last reported instance of this was on December 18.

She visited family over Christmas and by January 8 she went back home to her parents.

Over the following two days she had meetings with medical professionals and had planned a meeting for the afternoon on January 11.

At the inquest the family expressed their concern they hadn't expected Sarah home until the week later but were glad to welcome her back. Though they believe they should have had more warning about how high risk she was.

Vanessa added: "Never were we told that she shouldn't be allowed out in the community by herself."

Tim Ayrton, director and founder of Number 72, said she loved her work and was never happier than when she was there.

Though he felt important details and the seriousness of Sarah missing on January 11 was not conveyed to him and that any non-disclosure rules should have been overruled by the concerns for her well-being.

The coroner said that upon her release, Sarah had the love and attention of her family and professionals and was not sure what would have been done differently if she was released later.

The coroner concluded that she believed the death was more in line with misadventure than suicide.

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