The grieving sister of a mental health patient who ran out of hospital and into the path of a 44-tonne lorry said he had had been let down by medical staff, an inquest was told.

Carrie Howell said she was lost without her brother Ryan Chapman who died on May 22 after being hit by a lorry on the A27 in Durrington.

The family of Mr Chapman told an inquest yesterday that they had raised concerns about the treatment the 29-year-old father-of-two was receiving at Meadowfield Hospital after being deemed a “low risk”.


Mr Chapman, of Goldsmith Road in Worthing, had been admitted to the Sussex Partnership run hospital eight days earlier after complaining of high anxiety.

At 9.30am on May 22, he was seen running along the pavement of the A27 Arundel Road near the junction of Ivydore Avenue before changing direction and into the path of a 44-tonne lorry driven by Norfolk Benjamin Pleass.

Onlookers said it looked like Mr Chapman was running as if he was being chased or running to catch a bus before appearing to stumble or lose his footing into the path of the lorry which knocked him back 30 metres.

He was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital but was declared dead the following day.

Eyewitnesses said there was nothing the lorry driver could have done to avoid the collision. Sussex Police forensic investigator PC Adrian Short also said the vehicle was being driven below the 40mph limit and had no mechanical faults at the time of the collision.

After visiting him on the Sunday before he died, his brother-in-law Steven Howell said: “I was really concerned about them letting him go out.

“It made sense to have him in a controlled environment, I couldn’t understand how they were managing that risk.

“He believed nobody took him seriously and he would have to do something significant in order for people to take him seriously.

“We were told, ‘the only alternative not to allow Ryan not to go out was to section him and we don’t like to section people unless we absolutely have to’.”

He also told the inquest they had spoken to a staff they assumed to be the night shift manager on the Sunday and were told that, “it seems like nobody has sat Ryan down and explained how we are going to treat him,” and she assured the family she would do that after she had finished some paperwork.

Mr Howell told the hearing it was not clear whether this ever happened.

Mrs Howell said: “Part of me is gone forever with my little brother.

“My little boys are lost without their Uncle.

“They say mummy please don’t die, I really miss uncle Ryan.

“I felt the hospital really let Ryan down.”

The inquest continues.