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Patients 'still go missing' from mental unit

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: December 10, 2008

Daniel Heard

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THE mental health unit from which a schizophrenic absconded and later died is still reporting patients missing, an inquest heard yesterday.

Daniel Heard's body was found five days after he walked out of the Cedars mental unit in Exeter in freezing temperatures in February 2004, wearing just jeans and a T-shirt. His body was found 10 miles away.

Det Supt Nigel Bolton, head of crime operations for Devon, gave evidence yesterday about changes made to the way missing people are dealt with in the wake of Daniel's death.

Although he could not provide figures, Det Supt Bolton said that because of the "nature" of the individuals at the Cedars unit, they were still reporting missing patients.

He said: "There are still missing people from the Cedars because of the type of individuals they have there, and cases can and still do occur."

He also revealed police in Exeter deal, on average, with nearly four missing people a day. Across Devon and Cornwall, police dealt with 11,912 reports of missing people in 2007/08 – an average of nearly 33 people a day.

The figures have risen considerably since 2004, when 9,932 missing people were reported across the force area – an average of 27 people a day.

More than two dozen police officers and volunteers combed the Devon countryside for Daniel, who had a history of absconding from mental institutions, before his body was found.

He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and the inquest has heard, that in a psychotic state, he would not have realised the danger of being outside in extremely cold conditions.

Det Supt Bolton said several changes had been made to the way missing persons reports are handled. All officers are also given training in missing persons and mental health awareness.

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  • Fatdyke11  |  December 04 2012, 9:32PM

    This psychiatric unit should be shut down. Its the only place where staff encourage you to make a formal complaint because they know nothing will happen to them. The whole place is corrupt and the staff are devious liars. One nurse called a patient a disgrace and told her to grow up - then denied it and got all her staffing friends to cover for her - then she runs to the police because someone posts a horrible message on the internet about her - pathetic - GROW UP LW YOURE THE DISGRACE AND YOURE A LIAR. Isn't it funny how those who dish it out are the very ones who cant take it. I hope she runs to the police again about this post, then maybe theyll have her for wasting police time. And to LW and Devon and Cornwall police I will continue to post my opinions - I am entitled to have an opinion.