A SOUTHAMPTON woman was found dead in a cemetery where her grandad was buried hours after she went missing, an inquest heard.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust have now admitted they could have done more to prevent Kay Hillier’s death, who took her life after being allowed home leave away from Melbury Lodge in Winchester.

Mrs Hillier was found dead in Bitterne Parish Church cemetery after overdosing on paracetamol and drinking more than two times the drink drive limit.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard the 67-year-old from Shales Road, Bitterne suffered from depression and had anxiety attacks and was on home leave from a Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust facility.

The inquest heard she was a widow after her husband had taken his life in June 2000 and in 2016, her father died of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Ms Hillier’s sister Lesley Misslebrook said after the death she had talking therapy, and was living alone but appeared to be coping with her grief.

She said Mrs Hillier only started drinking in July, and had overdosed in October – a month before her death.

The inquest heard she was given home leave from Melbury Lodge in Winchester on the weekend she died in November.

Mrs Misslebrook said she and her sister had visited a cemetery near Southampton Common on November 4, and said her sister was very quiet, on November 6, she was alerted after Mrs Hillier did not answer calls or texts.

After a frantic search and having also alerted police, she believed that her sister’s body was in Bitterne Churchyard, where Mrs Hillier’s grandad is buried.

Later that day, Mrs Misslebrook and her sister found Mrs Hillier’s body in the cemetery.

The inquest heard Southern Health had tried to contact Mrs Hillier on Friday and Saturday and there is a protocol to cold call, if someone doesn’t answer phone calls– but this didn’t happen.

Adult mental health head of nursing Nicki Duffin said this should have happened, and that staff should have got in touch with Mrs Hillier’s family.

She also admitted there was not a contingency plan in place for Ms Hillier, and admitted that they have made a number of improvements since.

The inquest heard from consultant psychiatrist Dr Katherine Clyde, who explained Mrs Hillier was a voluntary patient at Melbury Lodge, and had been referred there on October 21, following a suicide attempt.

Dr Clyde said a care plan was put in place for Mrs Hillier, which included ensuring she was taking anti-depressants, and also to try and ensure she was not drinking alcohol which they said made her depression worse.

The family of Mrs Hillier say that staff should not have let her leave, as there was a risk Ms Hillier would drink.

Dr Clyde said: “There is a risk factor with alcohol when speaking to Kay about that she acknowledged it is a problem and expressed it was something she planned to change.”

Toxicology test results showed Mrs Hillier had a fatal amount of paracetamol in her system, which was three times over the therapeutic range and she was also 2.8 times the drink drive limit.

Pathologist Dr Vidhi Bhargava concluded she had been drinking for several hours before she was found dead.

Senior coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict of suicide, he said that for some reason she did not get the phone calls from Southern Health, which was a factor in the note she left.

He said: “My issue is there was no follow up and no-one thought to go round to talk to her or contact her family.”

Since the inquest Southern Health say they have made improvements.

Dr Sarah Constantine, Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director, Southern Health said“Kay’s death came as a shock to us all, especially those who had worked closely with her whilst she was in our care.

“A report into Kay’s death highlighted the need to ensure a clear process is in place should pre-arranged contacts or plans fall through. We are now working hard to implement this across our teams.

“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Kay’s family at this difficult time.”