‘Quiet and friendly’ Camden Town man with history of mental illness drowned in bath during hospital stay

The inquest took place at St Pancras Coroner's Court

The inquest took place at St Pancras Coroner's Court - Credit: Archant

A man who was “plagued by voices” for much of his life drowned in a bath while he was a patient at a Camden hospital, an inquest revealed this week.

John Lansdowne, 62, of Camden Town, was found unconscious in a communal bathroom on a ward at St Pancras Hospital, in St Pancras Way, where he had been admitted under the Mental Health Act.

He was taken to University College Hospital in Euston but died in the early hours of May 19 last year.

A post-mortem examination found there were signs Mr Lansdowne had drowned, the jury sitting at St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard during the three-day long hearing this week.

But the jury said there was insufficient evidence to determine what the precise cause of death was.

Mr Lansdowne, who lived in Pratt Street, had struggled with severe mental illness for 20 years which prevented him from having a job.

His brother Alan Lansdowne spoke of him as a “quiet and friendly” man but said “the last two years were really bad and he was just getting worse and worse.”

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Mr Lansdowne, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, was admitted to St Pancras Hospital on May 15 last year against his will after he told his psychologists that he had “strong” thoughts of suicide.

He had twice before jumped in front of trains at Camden Town Underground Station in 2010 and 2011.

One psychologist told the court that he was “plagued by voices” in his head.

On the evening of Mr Lansdowne’s death, staff nurses and a health care assistant observed him sitting in the corridor listening to the radio and drinking tea.

But when the staff nurse in charge of the ward noticed he was the only patient who had not taken his evening medication, she went to look for him.

She found Mr Lansdowne unconscious in the bath at 10.30pm and immediately raised the alarm.

The court heard that Mr Lansdowne was supposed to be checked on four times an hour but there were no records of any patient observations between 8pm and 9pm.

Coroner Mary Hassell suggested checks listed on records had not been carried out, which was strongly denied.

She will now prepare a Prevention of Future Death report.

The jury returned a narrative verdict this morning.