Tragedy of man ‘in wrong body’

Scales of Justice

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A MAN tortured by his belief that he was “trapped inside the wrong body” and should be a woman, met with a tragic end, an inquest heard.

Andrew Grant, 40, of New Street, Great Houghton, was found lying down the stairs of his home with a noose around his neck, on July 9 last year.

His death “profoundly shocked” professionals who had judged his state of mind as sound in the days leading up to his death.

A Sheffield inquest was told how Mr Grant struggled with depression and ‘voices’ in his head, that would sometimes tell him to take his own life.

He thought he should be female, and tried gender reassignment including hormone therapy in 2004. But he felt ridiculed by others and lost confidence when he tried to dress as a woman.

The deceased had a troubled childhood, the court heard, and tried to end his life on several previous occasions, including in 1989 and 1992 while in prison.

On June 22 last year Mr Grant was admitted voluntarily to Kendray psychiatric hospital after being troubled by voices.

He was allowed home on June 30 for one night initially, then another four, with support from the home team. At a review on July 5 it was decided he was not detainable.

Dr Asher Giora of Kendray Hospital, referred to Mr Grant’s long history of recurrent depression and identity disorder. “He was uncomfortable in a man’s body and thought he should be female. That made him depressed,” said the doctor.

In 2010, he spent two weeks in Kendray hospital. He responded to treatment well and this had influenced decisions made last year, said Dr Giora.

Mr Grant’s attempts to self-harm began in 1986, he told the inquest. As a teenager he took an overdose of a drug prescribed to his father, and he had a “long painful history.”

Mental health worker Lindsay Hutchinson paid a home visit on July 8, when Mr Grant’s lifelong friend Carly Huggett was present. He was in good spirits with plans for the weekend, she said.

She had no concerns following the visit, and alternate visits and telephone calls on a daily basis were arranged.

But Ms Huggett alerted services the next day when Mr Grant failed to make contact. She used her key to enter his home, then ran out screaming after finding Mr Grant’s body.

Stepladders were open at the top of the stairs under an open loft hatch.

Barnsley pathologist Dr Melanie Levy was concerned by deep scalp bruising to Mr Grant’s head.

A second post-mortem conducted by Home Office forensic pathologist Dr Paul Johnson gave the cause of death as compression of the neck due to hanging, and a terminal head injury. Bruising was consistent with a fall from a hanging position, his report said.

Dr Johnson added that the Great Houghton man was likely to have lived for a short time after his fall.

Dr Giora said: “I was profoundly shocked when I heard he died so soon after we discharged him,” adding that there may be lessons to be learned in the way risk to patients is assessed at hospital.

Assistant deputy coroner Louise Slater recorded a verdict that Andrew Grant took his own life. She extended her sympathy to absent family and friends.