Horrified staff tried to talk patient down before he fell
by Jamie Bullen
A hospital worker tugged a patient’s pyjama top to stop him
jumping from a window ledge just moments before he plunged to his
Phlebotomist Janice Tyler tried to pull teacher Clive
Francis back in to the third-floor of the Kent and Canterbury
But the 35-year-old shuffled along the ledge and fell minutes
later after other horrified staff members tried to talk him in.
The inquest into his death continued yesterday more than four
years after his death on June 16, 2008.
A jury heard the English teacher, of Shaftesbury Road,
Canterbury, had been admitted to the hospital by relatives
concerned for his welfare.
He was suffering from a rare brain tumour and bouts of
Mrs Tyler said she saw Mr Francis outside a third floor
window on a walk between wards.
She told him he shouldn’t be there but he said he was fine and
knew what he was doing.
After tugging his pyjama top in an effort to prevent Mr Francis
from jumping, she let go after he shuffled away from the window
along the ledge.
She said: "I thought he could be a builder coming in and out of
the window. There was a lot of work taking place at the hospital
and it wouldn’t have surprised me.
"I decided to let go because I thought I might be making the
situation worse and I wanted to defuse it."
An emotional Mrs Tyler hugged Mr Francis’ sister Helen Smith
after giving her evidence and said she had not looked out of the
window since his death.
Other staff members witnessed the fall, including nurse Karen
Chatahara, who was called over by Mrs Tyler.
In a statement read out at the inquest in Sandwich, she said: "I
did not see his face. He was crouching down in the open window.
"I said words to the effect of please come back and he
replied ‘leave me alone’.
"I thought if I could grab his belt I could hold on, but the man
Another nurse, Angela Anslow, said she also appealed for Mr
Francis to step down from the window, telling the court he had been
speaking about wills shortly before his death.
PC Lee Cheeseman was on duty near the hospital at the time he
was alerted of the incident.
In a statement, he said: "A member of staff had seen Francis
balancing backwards outside the window ledge holding on to the
When the officer reached the hospital Mr Francis was being
treated in a boiler room close to where he fell and was in a
PC Cheeseman said he was told by doctors the teacher was
unlikely to survive.
The inquest continues.
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