Mentally-ill patient died in Doncaster lorry smash

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A jury will today decide how a mentally ill patient came to be killed on one of Doncaster’s busiest roads after being allowed out of hospital.

Andrew Lee Wood, a paranoid schizophrenic, suffered fatal injuiries when he climbed over a barrier on the central reservation of Balby Road last autumn and was hit by a lorry.

The 35-year-old had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act because of his bizarre behaviour a few months earlier, and was an in-patient at St Catherine’s Hospital.

Although he had spent time in a seclusion unit because of his aggressive and agitated behaviour, Mr Wood had been allowed out on day release the day before the collision happened, on November 23.

Balby Road was closed by police while an air ambulance landed.

Mr Wood was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead from severe internal injuries.

Road traffic deaths are normally heard by a coroner sitting alone, but a jury of 10 has been sworn in because Mr Wood, a former factory worker, is deemed to have been in the care of the State at the time of his death.

The collision occurred on the stretch of road between Sandford Road and Greenfield Lane in the day time, and blood tests showed he had no alcohol or illegal drugs in his body.

Mr Wood’s father, Roger Wood, of Winterton, near Scunthorpe, said his son was married but separated from his wife, Alexandra, at the time.

Since his mental illness he had also refused to have any contact with his dad, who had last seen his son about five years ago.

Dr Matthew Impey, a consultant psychiatrist at St Catherine’s Hospital in Tickhill Road, said Mr Wood had been under the care of Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health Trust since April 2013.

Before that he had become disengaged from mental health services and had shown signs of bizarre behaviour by putting his furniture outside his flat, which had no carpets, and claiming he was receiving messages from his television ‘which was controlling him’.

Dr Impey said Mr Wood was detained by police under the Mental Health Act after neighbours reported him, and while in another mental health unit caused significant damage because he believed ‘dead babies were in the room’.

Although he had not talked about suicide, hospital staff suspected he had deliberately cut himself while shaving and on one occasion he asked for a knife with which to emasculate himself.

The inquest is due to conclude today.