HomeNewsMother Criticizes Police for Failing to Prevent Daughter's Suicide

Mother Criticizes Police for Failing to Prevent Daughter’s Suicide

Mother Criticizes Police for Failing to Prevent Daughter’s Suicide – The tragic case of Rhiana Jones, a 27-year-old mother of three from Barry, South Wales, who took her own life after a failed welfare check by police, has sparked a debate on the responsibilities and effectiveness of police intervention in mental health crises. Rhiana’s mother, Denise Jones, has publicly criticized the police for their perceived lack of diligence, describing their actions as “lazy policing” that ultimately led to her daughter’s death.

On August 6, 2023, police officers were dispatched to Rhiana’s home in St Athan, Barry, following reports of her potential suicidal behavior. Despite knocking on the front door and receiving no response, the officers were convinced Rhiana was not inside the house. They did not conduct a thorough search of the area, including checking the back garden or the back windows of the house, nor did they make any house-to-house inquiries. Rhiana assured the officers over the phone that she was out walking her dog and would return in 15 minutes. However, she was found dead inside her home by hanging, with a combination of cocaine, alcohol, co-codamol, paracetamol, and sertraline in her system.

Mother Criticizes Police for Failing to Prevent Daughter's Suicide
Mother Criticizes Police for Failing to Prevent Daughter’s Suicide – Image/ Dailymail

The inquest into Rhiana’s death heard that the officers were “110% confident” Rhiana was not inside the house, based on the sound of music coming from the property, which they believed indicated she was outside. However, Rhiana’s family disputed this, suggesting that the music was likely coming from a speaker connected to her phone, which would have stopped when she answered the call. The officers also noted a dog inside the house, which they did not challenge Rhiana about, assuming she could have more than one dog.

Coroner Gavin Knox concluded that Rhiana likely intended to take her own life and that her death was a suicide. He acknowledged that a successful welfare check might have possibly saved her life but could not definitively say it would have. The inquest also highlighted Rhiana’s history of mental health issues, including ADHD, postnatal depression, excessive alcohol consumption, and a gambling addiction, which had been addressed through medication and counseling.

Rhiana’s mother, Denise Jones, expressed her grief and frustration, stating that her life has been “completely changed” by her daughter’s death. She called for an inquiry into her daughter’s death, blaming the police and Rhiana’s ex-partner for her death and accusing mental health services of failing Rhiana by not providing the support she needed.

This case underscores the complexities and challenges involved in welfare checks and mental health crises, raising questions about the effectiveness of current police procedures and the need for improved training and resources to address such situations.

What were the specific mental health issues that Rhiana Jones had been addressing with medication and counseling?

Rhiana Jones has been addressing several mental health issues with medication and counseling. These issues began when she was a teenager and included:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Rhiana-Jones-1024x576.png

ADHD: Diagnosed in childhood, for which she was given medication. However, she mixed this medication with alcohol, which her mother described as the start of her mental health issues 12.
Postnatal Depression: Developed after the birth of her son in May 2022 12.
Depression and Anxiety: In addition to postnatal depression, Rhiana also struggled with depression and anxiety 12.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption: She had a significant issue with alcohol consumption, which was compounded by her ADHD medication 12.
Gambling Addiction: Rhiana had a gambling addiction, which added to her mental health struggles 12.
Overdose and Self-Harm Ideation: She had previously overdosed and had thoughts of self-harm, indicating a severe level of distress 12.
Rhiana received help for her struggles, including from her GP and a counselor, but despite these efforts, her mental health issues persisted and ultimately contributed to her tragic death.

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What actions were taken by the police officers after the failure to spot her?

After failing to spot Rhiana Jones at her home during a welfare check, the police officers took several actions:

They knocked on her front door but received no answer.
One of the officers managed to get through to Rhiana over the phone, where she assured them she was out walking her dog and needed to “clear her head.”
Despite hearing “loud music playing within the address,” they did not conduct a detailed search of the area, including the back garden, nor look through the back windows of her house to see if she was inside. They also did not make any house-to-house inquiries as to her whereabouts.
They were “110% confident” that Rhiana was not inside the property, as it sounded like she was outside.
Rhiana assured them she would be back in 15 minutes, but when she didn’t appear, they left.
Within around 20 minutes of officers leaving, Rhiana took her own life.
The family believed that if the police officers had made more efforts to locate her, she might still be alive.

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