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Hope at start of inquest; Why did Jason die?

Byline: RON LIVINGSTONE

A TEESSIDE family's questions about how their son apparently killed himself with a razor blade on an acute psychiatric ward may soon be answered.

An inquest was due to open today into the circumstances surrounding the death of 34-year-old Jason Walker, from Yarm, who died in the Stephenson Ward of the University Hospital of North Tees in May 2007.

It was the second death in eight months on the same ward. Jonathan Ferguson, 25, of Stockton, also apparently took his own life after upending his bed and knotting sheets together to make a noose.

Both men were supposed to be checked every 10 minutes.

Mr Walker had suffered from mental illness for a number of years and attempted to take his own life with an overdose of paracetamol and other prescription drugs in April 2007.

He was subsequently admitted to the University Hospital of North Tees A& E department, then agreed to be transferred to the Stephenson Ward, an acute psychiatric ward of the hospital, for his own safety.

Beth Reay of law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is representing Jason's family, said: "It has been a difficult two years for Mr Walker's family who hope that this inquest will help them answer some of the questions they have about the circumstances surrounding his death.

"Although some family members will be in attendance throughout the inquest, they have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time and will not be available for comment." The inquest is scheduled to last six days..It has been a difficult two years for Mr Walker's family who hope that this inquest will help them answer some of the questions they have - Beth Reay of law firm Irwin Mitchell, speaking on behalf of the family of Jason Walker, above, whose tragic story has been followed by the Gazette, right
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Words:309
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