Troubled man fled from Luton psychiatric ward before death, inquest told

A troubled young man escaped from a mental health ward and “apparently jumped” to his death out of the top floor of a Luton hotel, an inquest was told yesterday.
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Jonathon Page, 30, died on October 27 last year after falling from the tenth storey window of the Thistle Express Hotel.

Attendees at the Diwali Festival nearby in St George’s Square rushed to his aid, including two police constables and paramedics, but Jonathon died at the scene.

At the time of his death, he had been detained under Section 2 of The Mental Health Act 1983 and was receiving treatment at the Ash ward at Oakley Court in Luton, with a diagnosis of hyberphronic schizophrenia.

Thistle Express Hotel.Thistle Express Hotel.
Thistle Express Hotel.

As the inquest opened at Ampthill Coroners Court, a jury of five men and four women were sworn in.

Senior coroner for Beds, Emma Whitting, read a statement from Det Sgt Paul Breed who stated that Jonathon was arrested in Gordon Street in Luton on October 24 after a member of the public claimed he’d tried to strangle a woman.

DS Breed stated: “The woman concerned could not be located... Jonathon stated he suffered from psychosis and had not taken his medication. He stated he required assessment from a health care practitioner.”

After being assessed, Jonathon was sectioned under The Mental Health Act and transferred to the Luton & Dunstable Hospital for further treatment. From there, he was taken to the all-male Ash Ward in Oakley Court.

He escaped for the first time on October 25 by leaping over a fence into a neighbouring resident’s garden and after making his way to his family’s home in Dunstable, he was returned by his father. On the morning of his death, he escaped again and police launched a missing person’s search and a media appeal.

The inquest heard that Jonathon had lived in Liverpool after attending university, and had spent several years in a 24-hour assisted-living facility in the city before moving out last year.

Shirley Rawlings, general manager of Homebird Care Ltd, described Jonathon warmly as “a very intelligent person who would communicate politely,” but said he had formed some “unsavoury friendships” with local drug dealers. She added that he was at risk of severe self neglect without staff support.

The inquest was told Jonathon had dreams of running an online gaming company, and would spend days in his bedroom liaising with contacts in India in a bid to make this happen.

Ms Rawlings stated: “He was a good person with a good heart and many aspirations to live a good life. He just lost the notion of how to.

“I was totally shocked to discover that Jonathon had passed away in the way he had, and I can only offer my sincere condolences to his family.”

The inquest continues.

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