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Carers criticised by partner for letting diabetic Folkestone man David Richmond take insulin unsupervised

Diabetic David Richmond had wanted to be more independent and self-medicate his insulin
Diabetic David Richmond had wanted to be more independent and self-medicate his insulin

A woman has criticised carers for letting her partner take insulin unsupervised after he had attempted suicide 30 times.

Diabetic David Richmond had died from overdosing on the hormone and carers had not kept control because he wanted independence.

But a psychologist said he needed constant supervision, an inquest at Folkestone Magistrates' Court heard.

Debbie Cooper said: "He's now dead because nobody listened. There was a duty of care."

Mr Richmond, 47, died at the United Response charity care home at Marten Road, Folkestone, on March 4 last year.

He had suffered conditions such as permanently impaired memory from a brain injury several years before, epilepsy and mental health problems.

Miss Cooper told the inquest Mr Richmond had attempted suicide about 30 times in five years, including by overdoses.

She said the couple had lived together in Weymouth Road, Folkestone, before he finally moved to Marten Road as he needed constant supervision because there was a risk of him harming himself while she was out at work.

Miss Cooper told the home's manager Michael Coppin: "When I repeatedly telephoned you raising concerns why didn't you take any notice? He had so much insulin, enough to kill him."

"He's now dead because nobody listened. There was a duty of care..." - Debbie Cooper

She said Mr Richmond had been stockpiling both insulin and the epilepsy treatment drug carbamazepine and police reported finding insulin pens when the body was discovered.

Mrs Redman also asked Mr Coppin: "He made 30 attempts on his on his own life in five years. Why on that basis was he still allowed to self-medicate?"

Mr Coppin said Mr Richmond had wanted to be more independent, resented restrictions on him and had not talked about wanting to end his life.

"He was desperate to prove he could cope," said Mr Coppin. "He talked about the future and gave no signs that he was thinking about ending his life.

"My perception was that he was stable and making positive plans for the future."

He said Mr Richmond's blood sugar level would be checked and remained reasonably stable.

Anna Webb, case manager for Kent County Council adult social services, said: "He wanted to self-medicate. He felt quite emasculated because he needed to be cared for."

Mrs Webb said she thought he had only made attempts on his life three or four times.

But Dr Chris Strydom, clinical psychologist at Buckland Hospital in Dover, said Mr Richmond needed 24/7 monitoring and there was no evidence that he could control or manage his insulin.

"He did not comprehend the severity of his condition," he said.

The case was heard at Folkestone Magistrates' Court
The case was heard at Folkestone Magistrates' Court

Mrs Redman, Central and South East Kent Coroner, stressed the inquest was limited to fact-finding and could not go into any issues of liability or culpability.

She noted the clash of views between Miss Cooper and Dr Strydom on one side and Mr Coppin and Mrs Webb on the other.

But she said: "Miss Cooper is concerned that Mr Richmond was being over-trusted to self-medicate."

She recorded a narrative verdict, that Mr Richmond had died from an insulin overdose.

Mrs Redman said she was not satisfied without doubt this was suicide because he had been drinking at the time as well, which would have impaired his judgement.

A post mortem examination had found Mr Richmond had 178 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, more than twice the drink-drive limit of 80.

He was also found to have taken above-theraputic, but not fatal, doses of carbamazepine.

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