Living Within The Ripples – Part 4

This is the concluding chapter of this true and heartbreaking account. I would like to thank “Linda” for taking the time to write her and Sarah’s story. I know that it has been an emotional experience for her and I pay tribute again to her bravery and for the love she has shown her daughter and grandchildren throughout this terrible ordeal.

I am honoured to have been asked to share this with you.


Once there the floodgates opened and I wept, I felt violated! God knows how many strangers had rampaged through my house, my bedroom!!!!

And still no-one had told me if Sarah had been found………….

I was so, so tired and really needed to sleep. There were dirty great boot prints all up the stairway and on my cream bedroom carpet! I had to scrub them, I couldn’t settle with them visible. I totally understood how people who have been burgled felt
The phone rang, it was Keith “Has Sarah been found yet?” he asked. I was astounded!! How the hell did he know? I asked him,it had been months since we split up!
“ David told me when he broke your door down”!!!!!! No way, surely he hadn’t! I was so shocked I couldn’t speak! So the hospital couldn’t phone me, the Police didn’t phone me yet they break my door down and phone their dad!!!!!

That’s not right!

I was mortified!

I phoned the Inspector I had spoken to earlier and asked to see him again, he agreed and I went!
“ Why didn’t anyone just phone me?” I asked, “My daughter, Nicky, has a spare key, she could have checked if Sarah was at mine” He said he didn’t know, he wasn’t the authorising Inspector the previous night but he would ask all my questions at their handover later. I gave him a list!

I then phoned the hospital, the ward manager was full of apologies and blamed the Police! He said his staff had given them my phone numbers as well as telling them Sarah wouldn’t go to mine as she knew I would return her to the ward, they also, allegedly, told them her key to my house was still in her bedroom, on the ward!!!!
I was stunned! Who to believe???

I slept an exhausted sleep! A couple of hours was all I managed before my racing mind woke me!
The phone was ringing, it was Keith again! He told me that his son and several colleagues had been searching for Sarah all night, no luck! He then told me that even the neighbours had told the Police that Sarah wasn’t at mine and nor was I but they still broke my door down!

Sarah turned up as if nothing had happened a couple of days later! She had no idea of the devastation she had caused! She had been at a friends!
I was so angry both with her and with the hospital. They’d let Sarah out for leave and then were surprised when she didn’t show up at the expected time! I could have told them she wouldn’t!

Time moved on and we all settled down, a few weeks later I received a long letter from the Police justifying themselves for breaking into my house and blaming the hospital staff for not giving them the information re phone numbers or spare keys etc. I had a long letter from the hospital trust, blaming the police for ignoring their staff and going ahead to break my door down despite them telling them Sarah didn’t live there, wouldn’t go there!!!!
What a mess! The Police did say they could discipline David for phoning his father and disclosing protected information but I didn’t want that!
I had to draw a line under it as I was never going to get the truth!

Sarah wanted out! She was telling everyone who’d listen how much better she was and that she was ready to leave the ward! I went to a meeting which turned out to be a discharge CPA. They were letting her leave to go live with another patient despite my protests that it wasn’t a good idea.

It lasted 2 days before she was re-admitted to the psychiatric ward!

Sarah was in and out of the hospital over a six month period! I was at work when the news came, Jessie had received a phone call from her friend who worked in A&E, Sarah was there and we had better come, now!

I set off with a sinking feeling, this felt bad!

I arrived first, Jessie soon followed behind but they wouldn’t tell us where Sarah was. We were taken into the relatives room and I panicked!!!
Finally the consultant came, “we had to send her to Pinderfields in the air ambulance” he said!

He didn’t/ wouldn’t tell me why!

Back in the car we travelled most of the 25 miles in silence. On arrival we were directed to the regional burns unit! OMG! I saw Sarah, at least I thought it was Sarah! I collapsed in a heap……………..

Sarah had been given some leave from the ward again and failed to return again! The local Police were looking for her and checked all her usual haunts! They soon found her! She had been to a local garage and bought some white spirit, she then proceeded to take herself off into a field near the hospital and set fire to herself. One of the Police Officers who found her leapt on her and rolled her in the grass with his body!!! The fire was out! They called for medical assistance
and meanwhile poured what water they had over her arm. The hospital was a mere 100 metres away so they dragged/carried her there themselves, it was quicker!
To this day I do not know who those officers are!


Sarah was detained at Pinderfields with mental health nurses in attendance at all times. She had extensive plastic surgery, most of the skin of both thighs was used to graft her left arm which was very badly burned. She underwent months of therapy in order to regain some use from her arm and hand but is permanently scarred and deformed!
She has now been given 250K from the PCT for intensive psychiatric treatment in a private hospital, because NHS provision is inadequate and does not cater for people like Sarah!

Katie and Nicky got “married” Sarah couldn’t come so we took the whole wedding party to the hospital and invaded the ward, Wedding frocks, hats and all!

Sarah will never have her children back.

All this caused by domestic abuse!

A whole family in tatters! Living within the Ripples!!!!!………………………..

The reason I wrote about such a personal experience is to alert others to how much one man’s actions can destroy a family!
The inadequate mental health services throughout the country are well demonstrated by the blogs of Nathan Constable and Mental Health Cop however Sarah and her family are living with the consequences of this!
Sarah and I have had several interactions with the Police in relation to her MH, some good and some bad. Sarah owes her life to those two guys who breached health and safety to save her life! I can never thank them enough but if someone wanted to shot a Taser at her to stop her harming herself…….. well, put your own child’s face in front and still pull the trigger! If you could do that then it is the right thing to do!
And lastly to all Mental Health Professionals who read this, please do not treat family members as if they do not matter, they know their loved one the best and no matter their age, that is still their baby in your care!
We are now four years on from that night I found the grubby children running riot with a drunken man! I am pleased to say they are all ok and doing well! They will always have a loving family home………………….

Within the Ripples.


3 responses to “Living Within The Ripples – Part 4”

  1. julieanneda says :

    I have nothing but respect and awe to offer the author… The thing that gives me hope is that despite the ongoing systemic failures there were one or two individuals who left the systems rule base and acted with compassionate humanity. Those individuals make a difference in real people’s real lives

  2. Carrie says :

    This blog has been difficult reading for me because of a lot of similarities similarities with my own experiences if SH and sui attempts. I think I’d always glossed over the effects of my actions on close friends. The writer has been incredibly strong but the hurt must be immense. I wonder if they have had any counselling as these incidents described must have been incredibly traumatic.

    I’ve had incredibly negative experiences with the police regarding mental health ‘incidents’ but there are clearly some very brave and compassionate officers elsewhere in the country.

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  1. Living Within The Ripples – Part 3 | Nathan Constable - December 20, 2013

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