Doncaster man who hanged himself outside the town’s police station did not get the help he needed after being released from prison

A Doncaster man who hanged himself outside the town’s main police station did not get the help he needed after being released from prison, an inquest heard.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 3:50 pm

Now South East Yorkshire Coroner Nicola Mundy has written to the Director General of the National Probation warning that other deaths could occur unless action is taken.

Father-of-two Todd Salter was released from prison in July, 2019, and the inquest heard that there was confusion over which organisation should have helped him find somewhere to live on his own, so he moved in with his family.

That, said Ms Mundy, had a deleterious effect on his mental health as independent living was a key element in his re-establishing contact with his daughters.

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Coroner Nicola Mundy

His struggles increased and, having acquired a spice habit in prison, he started taking illicit drugs.

In her Prevention of Future Deaths report, which has just been published, the coroner said: “Although Mr Salter wished to overcome his drug habit he and his family struggled to obtain the support needed from the various agencies.

“Of note was that the probation officer who had been assigned to Mr Salter stated in evidence that she did not know that an option available to her was to contact ASPIRE Drug and Alcohol Service for Doncaster.

“She further stated in evidence that she did not know that they could have referred Mr Salter for an assessment, could have sought advice from a consultant psychiatrist and could have liaised with mental health services together with Mr Salter’s mother.”

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The officer was considering ways of having Mr Salter, aged 30, from Kirk Sandall, recalled to prison but that was not made clear to him.

On September 30 he was said to be at “crisis point” and after leaving his mother’s address, made his way to the police station. He was found hanging nearby in the early hours of the following morning.

Ms Mundy said she was concerned to learn about the poor engagement and collaboration between the probation service and other agencies and the family.

The probation officer’s lack of knowledge about the services available suggested inadequate training, she said.

She also expressed concern that Mr Salter had been “driven to desperate measures of committing criminal acts in an effort to be arrested or recalled in order to secure treatment and support.”

“This,” said the coroner, “appeared to be the way matters were moving forward without engaging with appropriate mental health services.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.