COUNTY NEWS: Student seen by Sussex mental health nurse before death

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A 22-year-old student who killed herself at Beachy Head had been seen by a Sussex mental health worker less than 24 hours earlier, an inquest has heard.

Kailina Natalia Makarewicz, a history student in her second year at University College London, died on Monday, May 11 2015.

She had been seen by a mental health nurse the previous evening after she was found at Beachy Head by members of the chaplaincy team.

Described as clever and hardworking by her family, the inquest heard how Ms Makarewicz had been taking anti-depressants and had been receiving therapy after she began to suffer from severe stress, bulimia and suicidal thoughts.

She was first seen at Beachy Head by Andy Nippard, a member of the Beachy Head chaplaincy team. He said he had spoken with her at around 7pm but believed she was OK and left her alone shortly afterwards.

Mr Nippard told the inquest how he had seen her behaving strangely later the same evening and became concerned for her welfare.

He said he then approached Ms Makarewicz for a second time and began a long conversation with her.

During the conversation she told him how she had been stressed, had a history of depression and was planning to stay the night at Beachy Head, Mr Nippard said. He also said she had asked him what he would do if she tried to jump, which he believed was a cause for concern.

Mr Nippard called Sussex Police who arrived at around 9.50pm and began speaking with Ms Makarewicz. Mr Nippard says he told officers of his concerns and that he believed she was suicidal.

PC Ben Dean, who arrived on the scene with his colleague PC Peter Adsett, said Ms Makarewicz had told officers she was planning to remain at Beachy Head overnight. The police officer also said she had told them she had looked up details of police mental health powers and said they could not detain her.

After speaking with Ms Makarewicz, the officers were able to persuade her to get into their patrol car.

She was in the patrol car when the Eastbourne street triage team – PC Bayle and mental health nurse Mr Alun Stere-Jones – arrived at Beachy Head at around 10.10pm.

Mr Stere-Jones told the inquest that he had found no immediate cause for concern after conducting a mental health assessment.

He made no attempt to detain her or to take her phone number in order to follow-up the assessment.

She was then taken to stay overnight at The Big Sleep Hotel in Eastbourne by PC Dean and PC Adsett as she had missed her train back to London. Receipts showed that she had finished booking into the hotel at 10.33pm.

The following morning Ms Makarewicz returned to Beachy Head and took her own life.

Mr Stere-Jones said she had been making good eye-contact and had spoken about her plans for the future, which led him to believe she was not at immediate risk.

The mental health nurse also said he was unaware of the concerns Mr Nippard had passed on to police or her taking anti-depressants. He said these details would have ‘significantly’ changed his assessment of Ms Makarewicz’s mental health.

The mental health assessment is estimated to have taken between 10 and 15 minutes.

After listening to the evidence, East Sussex Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of suicide that Ms Makarewicz had “taken her own life whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed”.

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