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Army veteran, 28, was “failed” by mental health services, family claim

PUBLISHED: 17:32 05 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:53 05 October 2018

Carrow House, where Norfolk Coroner's Court is based. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Carrow House, where Norfolk Coroner's Court is based. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

An army veteran who displayed “significant risk factors” before his death was “failed” by services in Norfolk, his family have claimed.

Oliver Ross Arnoup died at his home on Middle Market Road, in Great Yarmouth, on March 24.

An inquest into his death at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Friday heard how the 28-year-old visited GPs and hospital amid concerns about his “stormy” relationship, his premature son, the loss of his job and the death of his father.

Mother, Samantha Neave, said: “There were significant suicide risks shown but nothing was done and nothing will bring him back.

“The mental health services are a complete joke. There was no one there to help him and they should have done more.

“He has been totally failed.”

Mr Arnoup, who was medically discharged from the army in 2009 after two tours of Afghanistan, repeatedly arrived for work with black eyes and “strangulation” marks on his neck, his boss Stefan Janusz said.

In a statement read to the court, his partner Kerry Duffell said: “We had an argument the day before because he thought I had been out after work. I had because I wanted a drink with my friend, but I didn’t tell him that.

“He pulled my hair and my hands were hitting him. I think I must have punched him in the face.

“He had been an alcoholic in the past and was drinking when this happened. It is like he goes crazy when he drinks at home.”

The next day Ms Duffell returned home from work where the pair continued to fight before she left to stay with a friend.

She said: “He sent me numerous texts and we spoke once on the phone after I left. He said he was going to kill himself, but he would say it a lot and never did, so I told him to go ahead.

“He stopped replying to me and I started to shake because I knew there was something wrong.

“I went home and called his name, but then I saw him and I had to get out.”

Dr Sari Kelsey, operational service manager with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, accepted Mr Arnoup displayed several risk factors in the weeks ahead of his death.

She said: “We have a very tight schedule to create a relationship with someone looking for help.

“For veterans and men, talking about their emotions is difficult and, while they thought he was being open and honest about it, there was more to come.

“We have developed a new pilot scheme which we hope will be in place at the end of January to help prevent further deaths, and our staff have been sent for more risk management training.

“This will help them be more mindful about exploring risks, and will be refreshed.

“Part of the problem was he attended A&E on a Saturday, and he had no phone or address for our services to reach him, and the priority was to get him accommodation.”

Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner, ruled Mr Arnoup died as a result of hanging.

She said: “He clearly had a stormy relationship and he was stressed about the birth of his premature baby, the suicide of his father and the loss of his job.

“He had consumed alcohol and cocaine before his death and I cannot be certain he intended to take his own life.”

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