Death of autistic teenager at Milton Keynes mental health unit to come under scrutiny

Family have 'many unanswered questions'

By Sally Murrer
Monday, 21st June 2021, 11:09 am
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 11:10 am

A 10 day inquest has started today into the tragic death of a 19-year-old autistic girl at the city's Chadwick Lodge mental health unit.

Brooke Martin died in June last year while detained under the Mental Health Act at the hospital, which is run by Elysium Healthcare Ltd.

Brooke's family describe her as a caring, thoughtful and clever young woman who loved animals and whose long-term ambition was to become a vet.

Chadwick Lodge in Milton Keynes

She was diagnosed with autism and Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, and had begun to experience mental illness in her early teenage years.

Her mental health deteriorated markedly during the 18 months prior to her death, resulting in numerous serious incidents of self-harm and periods of detention under the Mental Health Act.

Between December 2018 and April 2019 Brooke was detained for treatment at Farnham Road Hospital in Guildford, which is run by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

In April 2019 Brooke was transferred to Chadwick Lodge Hospital.

She was discovered unresponsive by staff in her room on 10 June 2019 following an incident and was later pronounced dead at Milton Keynes University Hospital.

Brooke’s family said: “We still have many unanswered questions about Brooke’s transfer to Chadwick Lodge and the care and treatment provided to her there. We hope this inquest will robustly explore the management of Brooke’s risk of self-harm and suicide while she was a vulnerable patient detained under the Mental Health Act. We miss Brooke desperately.”

Brooke’s family are represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Catherine Shannon of Bhatt Murphy solicitors, and Stephen Clark from Garden Court Chambers.

The family are supported by INQUEST caseworker Selen Cavcav.

INQUEST is a charity providing expertise on state related deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, advice and support agencies, the media and parliamentarians. Its specialist casework includes death in police and prison custody, immigration detention, mental health settings and deaths involving multi-agency failings or where wider issues of state and corporate accountability are in question, such as the deaths and wider issues around Hillsborough and Grenfell Tower.

Suicide is preventable and support is available, such as Samaritans’ helpline. When life is difficult, Samaritans are there – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at [email protected], or visit their website to find your nearest branch.