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Hospital faces criminal probe after death of vulnerable man hit by train

Matthew Caseby died after absconding from a mental health hospital (Caseby family/PA)
Matthew Caseby died after absconding from a mental health hospital (Caseby family/PA)

The death of a vulnerable man who was hit by a train after absconding from a mental health hospital has sparked a criminal investigation into the care provider and its manager.

Personal trainer Matthew Caseby, 23, was able to leave Birmingham’s Priory Hospital Woodbourne, as an NHS-funded patient, after being “inappropriately unattended” for several minutes in September 2020, an inquest jury ruled in April.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will conduct a formal criminal investigation to establish if a crime was committed by the provider and Victoria Colloby, who was in charge at the time of Mr Caseby’s death.

Mr Caseby’s father, Richard Caseby, 61, said: “The catalogue of failings that led to Matthew’s death was horrifying.

“The Priory Group and its incompetent executives are finally being held to account for their criminal negligence.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is to expose the truth and stop this from happening to anyone else.”

The inquest jury, which heard that the University of Birmingham graduate should have been under constant observation, but was left unattended, reached a conclusion that death “was contributed to by neglect”.

Mr Caseby climbed over a 2.3 metre-high (7ft 6in) courtyard fence before being hit by a train a day later near Birmingham’s University station on September 8 2020.

Birmingham and Solihull senior coroner Louise Hunt said after the hearing she remained concerned at record-keeping quality, how risk assessments were completed, other incidents and the safety of the fence at the hospital.

She also urged health chiefs to consider imposing minimum standards for perimeter fences at acute mental health units.

Mr Caseby, who lived in London, was originally detained under the Mental Health Act following reports of a man running on to railway tracks near Oxford on September 3.

A CQC spokesman said: “That investigation is currently ongoing and we will report further as soon as we are able to do so.”

A Priory spokesperson said: “Consistent with its statutory powers, CQC investigates a substantial number of patient incidents in the UK.

“Priory and its employees will co-operate fully if inquiries are raised by the CQC with regard to the care of Matthew Caseby and it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”