A man suffering from a suspected psychotic disorder was killed when he ran in front of a van on a road near York – after his frantic mother had tried in vain to summon help from mental health workers.

An inquest heard that van driver Robert Vasey had insufficient time to avoid hitting Ben Stamp when the 25-year-old postgraduate student ran across the A19 between Escrick and Riccall.

The day before, he had run into the side of another vehicle on the B1222, injuring his arm.

He was taken to Foss Park, a York psychiatric hospital, for an assessment but did not speak and the doctor did not feel able to form any conclusions.

He then underwent a further assessment under the Mental Health Act, at which a doctor concluded he ‘had capacity’ and did not meet the criteria required to be detained under the Act.

The Northern Echo: Ben Stamp, pictured on the ski slopes in ItalyBen Stamp, pictured on the ski slopes in Italy (Image: Ron Stamp)

The following morning, his parents became increasingly concerned by Ben's agitated and erratic behaviour, after he had awoken distressed at 4.45am, saying he was to be arrested imminently.

Later, uncommunicative, chain-smoking and staring into space, his father had had to prevent him from leaving the garden.

He reported himself to the police through a delusional belief he had assaulted somebody and began pacing the house confused, putting on and removing clothes, and running up and down the stairs, and he then fled the house via a window and made his way to the A19.

The inquest heard his mother had made a series of 'increasingly frantic' calls to mental health workers through the morning to raise her concerns.

The family believed that missed opportunities to attend upon Ben or take him to a place of safety contributed to his death but this was rejected by Coroner Jonathan Leach.

Giving a narrative conclusion, in which he said he was not satisfied Ben had intended to take his own life, he said it was reasonable that Ben’s care had not been escalated, taking into account the information available at the time.

There were other patients who needed to be seen that morning, and he was not satisfied the outcome would have been any different if Ben's care had been escalated.

Ben's parents Ronald and Rachel told The Press afterwards that they were disappointed by the coroner's conclusion and felt Ben had been failed by the inquest.

They said Ben had been a 'gentle person, studious and deep thinking,' who had been about to start his final year of a PhD at the Centre for Viral Research at Glasgow University, where he was captain of the sky-diving club.

He had never previously experienced any form of psychosis but had found the lockdowns associated with Covid extremely difficult.

The couple also claimed that Ben had been failed by the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, which had a duty to provide his care, and claimed that changes were needed that might prevent future deaths.

"We are incredibly disappointed that the Trust have failed to hold themselves accountable and recognise shortcomings in the care provided to Ben," they said.

"Unless the Trust reflect on mistakes and missed opportunities and hold themselves accountable then, very sadly, many more preventable deaths will happen.

"We are now considering our options for pursuing this matter so that the Trust recognises its serious failings and makes changes that may prevent future deaths.

"We have lost our son and nothing can be done about that now. In contrast, there will be future patients and families whose lives may depend on the systems of care that this Trust has in place."

Zoe Campbell, managing director of the North Yorkshire, York and Selby care group at the trust, said: “Our thoughts and condolences go out to Ben’s family during this incredibly difficult time.

“We completed a review of Ben’s care and treatment after his sad death in 2020. We are grateful to Ben’s family for giving valuable input into the review under such tragic circumstances.”

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