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Kingsley Burrell 'made stabbing motions with his toothbrush'

INQUEST: Kingsley Burrell

THE MANAGER of a psychiatric intensive care unit told an inquest that she called the police when Kingsley Burrell lunged towards her making stabbing motions with his toothbrush.

Claire Parrish, who had been managing an ITU ward at Mary Seacole House in Birmingham for three months when Kingsley was admitted, told the hearing: “I thought he was going to hurt me really badly. I feared that I was going to be seriously injured.”

Father-of-three Kingsley died in March 2011 following contact with police and NHS staff at two mental health units and A&E at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Ms Parrish told Birmingham Coroner’s Court that she felt Kingsley was “extremely unwell, paranoid and very guarded” during the brief time he was in her 12-patient unit. She said she thought his potential for violence was extremely high.

She told of how she spoke with him after he pushed over a fellow patient for using a communal toilet and he responded by frequently saying that he would kill her if she didn’t get out of his room.

Earlier she said she had spoken with Kingsley’s mother Janet Brown who came to the unit very upset saying she wanted to take Kingsley home.

“She made reference to me being racist towards Kingsley. It had been quite a difficult conversation,” said Ms Parrish.

In the lead up to calling the police, Ms Parrish said Kingsley had snatched the ward phone, putting it down his trousers and had refused to hand it back to her when she went to his room.

When asked by coroner Louise Hunt if it might have been better to leave him alone to calm down for half an hour, Ms Parrish said: “No. He was psychotic and very unwell. He told a member of staff he knew her aunt and when he got out he was going to kill her aunt.”

When four police officers and a police dog handler arrived at the unit, they ordered staff to clear Kingsley’s room of any possessions that could be potentially used as weapons.

Officers put Kingsley on his bed on his front after he began spitting and trying to lash out, Ms Parrish said.

The decision was made to take him to a seclusion room at the Oleaster mental health unit, next to the QE hospital. When consultant psychiatrist Dr Nicholas Kennedy was unable to give Kingsley an anti-psychotic tablet by mouth, he received an intramuscular injection in his buttock.


WANTING JUSTICE: Kingsley’s mum Janet Brown, front left, among people marching for justice in Birmingham last year

By this time, a handcuffed Kingsley was being restrained on the floor outside his room. When asked if he was prone – face down – Ms Parrish said: “He was not completely prone – his head was tilted to one side. An officer was holding his head so he did not bang it on the floor.”

It was decided to take Kingsley to A&E as a precaution before admitting him to the Olaeaster Unit because he had a superficial cut to his head. He had also been restrained for a prolonged amount of time and been sedated.

Ms Parrish said observations on his vital signs were carried out and they were normal apart from a slightly raised pulse, which she felt was understandable under the circumstances.

The plan was for her deputy ward manager Todd Nyamhunga to travel with Kingsley in the ambulance and carry his notes, but at the last minute it was found there was no room for him with the four police officers in the back.

Richard Reynolds, QC, representing the mothers of Kingsley’s children, asked Ms Parrish if she passed on information to the ambulance crew that one of the side effects of the drug Promethazine was cardio respiratory depression.

She said she had not passed that on because he had been given only a small dose of medication.

Later she was asked if she recalled telling one of the police officers that Kingsley’s respiratory rate was seven – a cause for concern, since a normal rate is nearer 12 – but she replied she had never said that to the officer.

Anne Studd, QC, representing West Midlands Chief Constable Chris Sims, asked Ms Parrish: “The jury will later hear evidence that Kingsley should have been arrested and taken to a police station. Would that have been suitable for him?”

She said: “No, we called police because of his mental state. We wanted him to be in a safer unit.”

Ms Studd asked her if she would have spoken up if she thought Kingsley was being mishandled by the police. She replied: “We were ultimately responsible for his well-being. If I felt he was being mishandled or distressed I would have raised the issue.”

The case continues.

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