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Vicious assault at Dusk 2 Dawn nightclub may have sparked troubles which led to young Maidstone man's death

A young man from Maidstone took his own life after suffering years of mental health problems, after he'd been viciously attacked, an inquest heard.

Tommy Thwaites, 25, was found by a friend in the bathroom of his flat in Westree Road, in November last year.

Tommy Thwaites
Tommy Thwaites

Coroner Scott Matthewson heard evidence from Mr Thwaites' GP, Dr Kulvinder Singh, that his patient had a history of behavioural difficulties and self-harm.

At one stage, he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and detained for a short while at Priority House in Maidstone for his own safety.

Mr Thwaites used cannabis and had previously been a heavy drinker, but in the months before his death he had reduced his intake to three or four cans a week.

Dr Singh had referred him to CGL, (Change Grow Live) the West Kent drugs and alcohol well-being service, but Mr Thwaites had missed appointments and had lost his place.

Dr Singh was trying to arrange a new appointment for him.

Tommy was found dead in the bathroom of his home in Maidstone
Tommy was found dead in the bathroom of his home in Maidstone

He said Mr Thwaites, a former pupil of Valley Park School, suffered from severe anxiety and his attendance at all appointments was patchy. However, he was keen to get support.

The GP also said Mr Thwaites was a great young man.

He added: "It's not that people (like Mr Thwaites) are bad - it's that something has gone wrong in the passage of their lives and we have to support them with that."

Mr Thwaites' mother Claire Fry offered a suggestion as to what had gone wrong.

She said her son had been attacked in The Dusk 2 Dawn nightclub in Maidstone, in 2015.

Mr Thwaites was attacked in Dusk 2 Dawn, in King Street, Maidstone in 2015, Picture: Martin Apps
Mr Thwaites was attacked in Dusk 2 Dawn, in King Street, Maidstone in 2015, Picture: Martin Apps

He had been stabbed and struck in the face with a glass.

She said: "After the assault, he became a different person. He suffered from paranoia and also quickly became very angry."

She also said the reason he had missed his appointment with CGL was that he had suffered acute pancreatitis and had been in hospital.

Also giving evidence was Stewart Bhobho, who had been the operational team manager for the Maidstone Community Health Team giving support to Mr Thwaites.

He said that Mr Thwaites had first been referred to the unit in 2011 when he was just 17.

Tommy Thwaites with some of his family
Tommy Thwaites with some of his family

And Mr Bhobho also said Mr Thwaites had difficulties all of his life but agreed the assault may "have sown the seeds of some of his difficulties."

He had also been deemed unsuitable for psychiatric help while he was drinking and taking drugs.

But the coroner asked: "Isn't there a Catch 22 situation here?

"We have a young man whose illness makes him so anxious he finds it difficult to attend appointments, so he self-medicates with alcohol or drugs to sooth his worries so that he can attend, and then when he does so, he can't get the psychological support he needs because of his drinking?"

Miss Fry said that her son had not been sleeping well and often said he was tired of life.

Tommy Thwaites carried a scar on his nose from the attack
Tommy Thwaites carried a scar on his nose from the attack

"For two or three weeks he had said he would hang himself, but there had been nothing to indicate he was about to do it."

Mr Matthewson, said to Miss Fry he understood that the day before his death, Tommy had gone into a shop and asked for some money. He had threatened the shop-keeper, but the shop-keeper had refused to give him anything and he had left.

Miss Fry agreed, but said she had she hadn't known about it at the time, she only found out afterwards when she heard that the police had visited.

Praising Miss Fry for the love and support she had shown her son, the coroner reached a conclusion of suicide.

A lawyer who had been due to attend court on behalf of the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust had been unable to do so because she was self-isolating due to coronavirus.

Tommy Thwaites
Tommy Thwaites

Mr Matthewson said he would consult with her after the inquest before deciding whether he would want to to issue any advice to the trust under his Regulation 28 duty regarding the apparent "Catch 22" situation.

Friends and family paid tribute after his death and his mother vowed to set up a mental health charity because she said mental health professionals did not do enough to help her best friend, son and "little side-kick".

It is called Tommy's Rainbow Trust and will support people, with the aim or preventing more suicides and self-harming. It will also help people with anxiety and depression who are under mental health care and are not getting the help they need. The eventual goal is to open a walk-in centre to give advice and support to those who need it, in person.

Donations to reach the amount needed to register the trust as a charity can be made here.

She added: "I spoke to the mental health team just after Tommy died and I told them what he had done.

"I told them it is on your head, 'you killed my son'. They should have reviewed his meds.”

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

If you want to talk to someone confidentially, click here.

For more information on how we can report on inquests, click here.

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