The young Derbyshire man with dreams who tragically ended his life

This is the face of Ryan Whitlow.

Wednesday, 18th October 2017, 8:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th October 2017, 8:32 pm
The late Ryan Whitlow. Picture kindly submitted by his father, Anthony Whitlow.

Ryan loved animals, the great outdoors and writing poetry.

He had dreams of going to university and becoming an engineer.

He wanted to be successful.

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The Hartington Unit in Chesterfield.

But Ryan did not live for very long after being discharged from Chesterfield's mental health unit.

The 22-year-old left a suicide note on his windowsill then strangled himself in his flat on a summer's day last year.


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The Hartington Unit in Chesterfield.


During Ryan's inquest at Chesterfield coroners' court today, his uncle John Whitlow said: "I saw him grow up.

"I spent a lot of time with him and we got on well together.

"Ryan was a bright, articulate young man.

"He was quite a private person.

"He was gentle."

Ryan lived in Chesterfield for two years after moving to the town from London.

Mr Whitlow, who lives in Swindon, said: "Ryan liked this part of the country.

"He enjoyed cycling in the Peak District."

While at the hospital, Ryan seemingly made an attempt to take his own life and was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act and admitted to the Hartington Unit.

Mr Whitlow said: "I was unaware he was running into difficulties while he was in Chesterfield.

"I now know he was very stressed about his financial position - his landlord and other agencies were chasing debts from him - and that led to him to smoke cannabis which no doubt had an effect on his mental health."

Mr Whitlow said he travelled to Chesterfield to visit his nephew in the Hartington Unit.

"He said he felt safe," Mr Whitlow said.

"I asked staff if he could have psychological support but was told it wasn't available because a vacancy hadn't been filled.

"That did concern me."

On Monday, consultant psychiatrist Dr Salwan Jajawi said he did not think Ryan would have benefited from psychological help at that point.

Mr Whitlow said he told Ryan he could live with him when he left the Hartington Unit.

Ryan was discharged on July 26.

Mr Whitlow said: "On the morning of July 26, I called the Hartington Unit and asked if I could be contacted before Ryan was discharged to ensure proper arrangements were in place.

"That call wasn't made to me so in the afternoon I phoned the unit to find out what had happened.

"I was told he had gone."

Mr Whitlock found Ryan sitting on a bench at the bottom of his road later that day.

"He looked lost," he said.

"He said his release was organised quite quickly and he was just allowed to go.

"He seemed pretty agitated by the whole process."

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust arranged a follow-up appointment with Ryan for August 2 in accordance with its seven-day policy, the court heard.

In Derbyshire, he would have been seen within two days.

On July 31, Ryan told his uncle he wanted to temporarily return to his flat in Chesterfield.

Mr Whitlow said: "I was concerned about this but I felt I couldn't stop him - he was an adult.

"He was determined to go - I felt I had no choice but to let him go.

"He assured me he would be back on August 2.

"He wanted to go back to Chesterfield to retrieve some personal items, including a teddy bear from his childhood."

Police found Ryan's body in his flat on Birchwood Court on the evening of August 4.

Coroner Kathryn Hayes adjourned the inquest, which is expected to conclude on Friday.