Blackpool woman detained under Mental Health Act died after being diagnosed with cancer

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Her family told the inquest they were “grateful for the care provided for her”.

The family of a woman who died while detained under the Mental Health Act have thanked staff at a secure unit in Preston for making her final months happy.

Victoria Johnson was just 51 when she passed away at Guild Lodge in Whittingham on Boxing Day last year after opting to return there from hospital for end of life care.

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Coroner Richard Taylor concluded she had died of natural causes, having been diagnosed with terminal cancer some months earlier.

Victoria Johnson was just 51 when she passed away at Guild Lodge in Whittingham (Credit: Google)Victoria Johnson was just 51 when she passed away at Guild Lodge in Whittingham (Credit: Google)
Victoria Johnson was just 51 when she passed away at Guild Lodge in Whittingham (Credit: Google) | Google

And in a statement read out at the inquest her family told the inquest they were “grateful for the care provided for her.”

It went on: “She was always grateful herself at Guild Lodge and always had a very positive relationship (with the staff) there.”

Victoria, formerly of Tynedale Avenue, Blackpool, had been ordered to be detained by a judge at Preston Crown Court in 2019 for a series of offences including arson, assault, burglary and aggravated vehicle taking.

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Two of her victims were pensioners, one was 92 and living in Shipley Close, Blackpool.

The court also heard police had to use a “stinger” to stop a car she had stolen from another woman.

At the inquest a doctor told Coroner Taylor that Victoria had been sectioned after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

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She had presented with a risk of arson, assault to others and a risk towards herself.

Dr Henry Ashcroft told the hearing she had been responding to treatment at Guild Lodge and “was doing OK.”

There had been a reduction in her symptoms and her risk to others.

In January 2023, she was given a planned discharge by a Mental Health Tribunal which would have seen her return to living in the community, with support.

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But she relapsed just three weeks after being discharged and was detained again.

It was during this time that she began to feel unwell and was rushed to hospital by ambulance where she was found to have a number of serious health problems, linked to her history of drug use.

Doctors also diagnosed incurable pancreatic cancer which had spread to other areas.

It was considered she was too frail to undergo chemotherapy, even at the age of 51, so she was put on an end of life pathway.

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Dr Ashcroft said: “Victoria had been with us for the majority of her last four years so she had grown close to many of the staff (at Guild Lodge).

“She also had a good relationship with many of her peers on the ward.

“She didn’t feel able to ask her family to take on a caring role for her, so it was felt she should come back to us.”

Coroner Taylor said the official cause of death was metastatic pancreatic cancer.

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He explained that, while an inquest is not normally necessary in straightforward medical cases, he had been required to conduct one because Victoria had died while detained under the Mental Health Act.

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