Inquest Starts Into Death Of Vulnerable Man Following Fire At His Council Flat

Robert Crane Had A History Of Hoarding And Setting Fires In His Flat

30.09.2016

Hayley Court, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

An inquest into the death of a man with bipolar disorder who died from smoke inhalation at his Bristol council flat in is due to begin on Monday (October 3).

For more than a year prior to his death on 6 September 2014, 61 year old Robert ‘Bob’ Crane was known to be lighting fires and hoarding flammable items in his flat in Carolina House, Bristol. He was visited by a community psychiatric nurse in July 2014 and by a social worker four days before his death.

Following his father’s death Alex Crane instructed expert civil liberties lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care his father received from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and Bristol Social Services.

He said: “My dad was a man in the depths of mental health crisis and was known to be at risk of starting fires which could spiral out of control. I hope this inquest will provide answers as to how Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and Bristol Social Services, could have allowed this state of affairs to continue.”

An inquest into his death is scheduled to begin on Monday at Avon Coroner’s Court in Flax Bourton, Somerset, and is expected to last five days.

Robert – known as Bob - was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1985, and had been on a regular prescription of lithium to control the illness until 2012 when he stopped collecting his medication.

He was the subject of a number of referrals, including one made by the local authority to the Trust on August 22, 2014 which raised concern about Bob lighting of fires on the balcony and inside his flat on a regular basis.

In the following six months Avon Fire and Rescue Service were called to the property no less than four times following reports of a fire, and raised concerns regarding the amounted of flammable hoarded items at the property. He was visited by a community psychiatric nurse in July 2014 and a social worker four days before his death on September 6, 2014.

Gus Silverman, an expert civil liberties lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Alex, said: “Bob was a desperately vulnerable man who lived in highly dangerous conditions for more than a year prior to his death.

“There are serious questions to be answered at the inquest as to whether the assessments carried out by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and Bristol Social Services were adequate and whether Bob’s death could have been avoided.”