St Albans man with psychotic delusions ‘should have been sectioned’ before fatal fall

PUBLISHED: 18:13 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:37 15 August 2018

The entrance to the Maltings car park on New Kent Road

The entrance to the Maltings car park on New Kent Road


A man with psychotic delusions could have been saved from carrying out a fatal fall had he been sectioned, his mother told an inquest.

Matthew Burke, of Lemsford Road, suffered with ADHD and mixed personality disorder for years before he was spotted standing on the edge of St Albans’ Maltings car park by a passer-by on January 23.

The bystander turned away to get help and when he looked back, Matthew had jumped.

Paramedics rushed to his aid below, but the 27-year-old died at the scene.

Matthew had what doctors described as “strange thoughts”, which included believing his neighbours were building a bomb to detonate in his flat and that his family were controlling him through Satanic cult rituals.

He had been unemployed for the last eight years and his mother questioned whether the troubled man should have been sectioned.

She believes the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team was negligent in deciding not to detain him at a meeting in December last year, a month before the tragedy.

She said: “I understand what you are saying that if he had been detained he still might have killed himself but I think that if he would have been treated those torturous thoughts might have gone.

“He was denied that opportunity and we were on suicide watch as soon as we heard that he hadn’t been detained.”

She said there were many missed opportunities to identify that Matthew was “very disturbed”, as he had a history of attempted suicide and had been expressing harmful thoughts for weeks.

Matthew had refused antipsychotic drugs because he believed they made him a prisoner in his own body.

His father added: “What I would hope is that some lessons are learnt from this and if there is another poor soul out there who exhibited half of the symptoms he did, they are assessed.

“Let me put it another way - if you have had a child which had similar symptoms, would you be happy for them to go through what he did and put any faith in the mental health professionals?”

Coroner Senior Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan adjourned the inquest to a later date in order to call more witnesses.

He said: “Looking at it as a medical lay person it seems that he has been displaying quite clearly symptoms of mental illness.”

More news stories

22 minutes ago

Two men have been arrested in connection with a burglary in St Albans.

53 minutes ago

There was acrimonious disagreement between St Albans councillors last week over an increase in their allowance.


Police are warning drivers to protect their cars after a spate of car thefts in St Albans, Harpenden and London Colney.

Ambulances have been head butted, kicked, and had blue lights ripped off in shocking acts of vandalism on the emergency vehicles - sometimes while crews have been trying to treat patients.


I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

Digital Edition

Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition
Zoo Watch CountryPhile

Newsletter Sign Up

Herts Advertiser weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read stories

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards