Questions raised about mental health services during inquest into death of Preston’s father Shaun Horan

Mr Horan was last seen at Mariner’s Way, Preston on February 3, 2020, and his body was found at the nearby docks on March 29, 2020.

>>> Click here for a timeline of Mr. Horan’s disappearance.

A pre-inquest hearing took place today (April 1) at Preston Coroner’s Court, attended remotely by members of Mr Horan’s family, their solicitor and representatives of the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) and the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS. Foundation Trust (LSCFT).

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The late Shaun Horan

The purpose of the meeting was to decide on the details of the upcoming investigation, including the scope of the investigation and the witnesses that would be called.

The court heard that in the summer of 2019 Mr Horan’s GP referred him to mental health services and by then he had separated from his wife, left the home family, restricted access to his children and lost his job.

He was described as having ‘impaired his external presentation’, showing up at a McDonald’s restaurant on his son’s birthday ‘neglected and unwashed’.

The court also heard that Mr Horan had a history of suicide attempts and self-harm and was found drinking ‘excessively’ in a Salford hotel room during the period of Christmas 2019.

A month before his death, Mr Horan was admitted to the Royal Bolton Hospital in a ‘severely intoxicated state’ and underwent a number of mental health assessments.

The latest, conducted by consultant psychiatrist Dr Catherine Symonds on January 24, 2020, concluded that he did not suffer from mental illness and was not incarcerated.

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Representing Mr Horan’s family, a solicitor identified only as Mr Simms said: ‘Assessments concluded he had no mental health issues, or those issues could be managed conservatively in terms of referral to addiction services or homelessness.

“There was little or no active assistance offered to Mr. Horan prior to his death.”

He also argued, “There were failings by one or more of the interested parties (health care providers) that contributed to his death.”

Mr. Simms repeatedly referred to the fact that no care coordinator had been assigned to Mr. Horan.

A GMMH representative said the Trust had “very limited involvement” in Mr Horan’s case and there was “nothing to suggest systematic failure”.

A LSCFT representative said: ‘There is no evidence of a systematic breach of duty and no suggestion of a breach of operational duty.’

Deputy Coroner Neil Cronin said the issue of systematic and operational failures would be “continuingly argued” as part of the inquest.

He called for a review of Mr. Horan’s mental health history and a series of statements from witnesses, including doctors, police and family members.

He confirmed that the scope of the inquest would cover the diagnosis and treatment of Mr. Horan, the availability of mental health services for Mr. Horan and the medical cause of death.

The inquest, which will take place over two days, will take place later this year on a date to be announced.

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