PERFORMANCE: A verdict of suicide has been returned by an inquest into the death of a police officer while at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust.

Richard Bexhell died in August 2009 following an incident when he was a patient at the trust’s Woodlands Hospital. A jury inquest returned a verdict of suicide on 2 March.

It said no risk assessment or separate care plan had been made on admission and that referral papers had not been read. However, despite these errors, the inquest concluded that an appropriate level of risk was chosen by Sussex Partnership and correct level of observations maintained.

The death of Mr Bexhell was one of three unrelated incidents that occurred at the Woodlands Hospital over an 18 month period during 2008 and 2009.

The Woodlands Hospital was temporarily closed in October 2009 and underwent an independent review. It reopened in 2010 with new leadership, having undergone a partial refurbishment. Staff also received extra training on suicide risk assessment.

A police investigation in 2009 and 2010 found no evidence to prosecute the trust over the three deaths.

Helen Greatorex, executive director of nursing and quality for Sussex Partnership, said: “We were deeply saddened by Mr Bexhell’s tragic death.

“While nothing will bring these people back, we owe it to their memory and to their families to learn from what happened and continually improve.”