THE FAMILY of tragic mum Michelle McCann pleaded with mental health staff to section their daughter days before she leapt from the sixth floor of Grimsby’s Freshney Place car park, an inquest heard.
They were surprised when nurses allowed the 42-year-old to go shopping on her own on December 27, 2013.
Just over an hour after leaving Harrison House mental health facility in Peaks Lane, Grimsby she jumped and landed on the roof of a car being driven into the multi-storey car park at 11.20am in view of shoppers.
The fall on to the roof of Ben Dent’s Seat Leon caused multiple injuries from which she died five days later in Hull Royal Infirmary, a post mortem examination confirmed.
At the start of a five-day inquest at Cleethorpes Town Hall yesterday, moving tributes were paid to the mother-of-one from her own mother, Christine McCann.
She told how her daughter, a former travel agent and Associated British Ports worker, had repeatedly told her mum she did not want to carry on living and had, on several occasions, tried to take her life by taking overdoses of Paracetamol.
But she said her daughter was a devoted mother who loved her years working as a travel agent.
She organised family holidays and cruises and her mum recalled a memorable trip to Disney World with her daughter and grand daughter.
But she had been prescribed anti-depressant Seroxat, which she took for about 20 years.
She had also self-harmed at her home in Charles Street, Cleethorpes where a fire broke out on December 14, less than two weeks before the fall.
Two days before the shopping trip the family had enjoyed a Christmas celebration together with Michelle and her young daughter at Michelle’s sister’s house before she was taken back to Harrison House by relatives.
On Boxing Day, when her parents visited her at the facility, Michelle had told her mum she was keen to go shopping. But the shopping trip was postponed to the following day. She was collected by her father Anthony, who said he was surprised when nurses let her go out on her own without a carer with her.
He told the inquest: “She was shaky and trembling.”
He said he was surprised and told staff of his concern after the previous incident at Charles Street when she went out shopping on her own and later returned and cut herself.
Mr McCann said he had taken £50 along with him to give to her for the shopping trip.
Michelle was waiting at the doorway.
He told his daughter: “You are not going out on your own. She said she was trembling and shaking. But told me ‘it is something I have to try to do dad. I am going to go shopping and I will drop in on mum (at work). If I feel all right I will carry on and come home with mum for tea’.”
He said she assured him she would get a taxi back to Harrison House if she felt unwell.
Mr McCann said before taking his daughter into town, he questioned staff whether she could go alone.
He told the inquest a nurse had said Michelle was better after taking new medication and having had a good night’s sleep.
She had got dressed and did her make-up for the shopping trip.
Mr McCann said: “We felt she should have been kept there safe.”
In evidence, motorist Mr Dent told how he and his wife Jess were in a queue of traffic waiting to turn into the car park when he heard a loud bang.
When he got out he saw the woman slumped but conscious behind his car. She told him her name.
Mr Dent said he placed his jacket over the woman as a first aider came to assist and a motorist in the car behind called 999 while security guards brought blankets.
Paramedics arrived moments later and the woman was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary.
Michelle’s mother said her daughter had attended at doctors’ surgeries, and Open Minds mental health support charity and Mind, as well as Harrison House.
Mrs McCann said: “They kept saying she was fine and had a phobia of heights and behavioural problems.”
She said she had asked them to section her daughter.
The mother said: “She was not sleeping or eating and cried a lot. You never knew what she was going to do next.”
The inquest was told she was admitted as an inpatient and had voluntarily stayed at Harrison House for several days.
Grimsby and North Lincolnshire coroner, Paul Kelly said to the mother: “I do not underestimate how difficult it has been for you today.”
He will hear evidence from mental health service staff and clinicians at Harrison House and representative of Navigo.
The jury is expected to deliver a conclusion on Friday.
The inquest continues.
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