Coroner reports ‘deeply worrying’ increase in suicide cases

Coroner David Heming and his office at Huntingdon. Coroners are required by law to investigate any s

Coroner David Heming and his office at Huntingdon. Coroners are required by law to investigate any sudden or unexplained death. They are independent of both local and central government and are required to act in accordance with laid down rules and procedures. Picture; CCC - Credit: Archant

There has been an “extraordinary” spike in the number of child suicide cases in Cambridgeshire, the county’s top coroner has warned.

Senior coroner David Heming said the number of cases involving young suicides has been much higher in the past year and a half compared with previous years.

He made the comments as part of an annual review of the coroner service presented to Cambridgeshire County Council's communities and partnership committee on Thursday.

He said: "There are some deeply worrying trends - we have had a series of suicides of young people since January 2018. It's a number that's quite extraordinary compared with previous years."

Speaking after the meeting he said about seven suicides of those aged 18 or under were heard in the coroner's courts in Cambridgeshire in 2018 and the first half of 2019.

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Mr Heming said it was "very different to what we have experienced before". And he added "we would get one young suicide every few years before".

He said the cause was unknown, but said a rise in suicide rates in young people is not unique to Cambridgeshire.

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No specific figures for young suicides were included in the annual report of the coroner service, but it did note: "The percentage of inquests with a conclusion of a suicide or drug related death rose from 15.6 per cent in 2017 to 21.6 per cent in 2018".

It explained further that "these deaths are often linked to mental health issues".

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