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Maidstone: Inquest of train death victim Natalie Gray hears Priority House mental health unit doctor raised concerns

A troubled mother was let out of a Maidstone mental health unit by a member of staff unaware she had been suicidal the previous evening, an inquest has heard.

Natalie Gray discharged herself from Priority House, where she was receiving care as a voluntary patient, and made her way to Barming railway station on April 21 last year.

After spending nearly two hours on the platform the 24-year-old, from Bournemouth Road in Folkestone, was tragically hit and killed by a train.

Priority House, Maidstone Hospital
Priority House, Maidstone Hospital

An inquest into her death, which started at The Archbishop’s Palace last week, was told the Hermitage Lane facility had a policy that nursing staff should be consulted before an informal patient left the building.

But giving evidence, Emma Farrell from the occupational therapy support team said she had not been made aware of the protocol.

She said Miss Gray had asked to go out for a cigarette, so she had used her key fob to open the door of the ward, as she had seen others do with voluntary patients.

She said it was only later she was made aware a doctor had raised concerns about Miss Gray’s state of mind the previous evening, recommending that she should be assessed if she became agitated and tried to leave the unit.

The scene outside Barming Railway Station after the tragic death of Natalie Gray
The scene outside Barming Railway Station after the tragic death of Natalie Gray

The support worker said it was something she would have expected to have been briefed on.

The inquest heard that Miss Gray had been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder and had tried to commit suicide a number of times since she was 14.

She told mental heath staff she thought she had been recruited by the devil.

The inquest is expected to last until next Friday.

If you would like confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

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