Coroner raises concerns over medical treatment of teenager who took his own life

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A coroner has raised concerns about the handling of care given to a teenage boy from Kent who took his own life.

In September 2020, 15-year old Ellis Murphy-Richards took his own life just weeks before his 16th birthday.

Ellis' mother Nastasha Murphy describes her son as an 'articulate' and 'intelligent'

"He was very outgoing, sociable and full of life. Ellis was future looking and was talking about wanting to work in children and young people mental health services."Ellis loved karaoke, family parties and dancing and had recently learned british sign language and had often would sign away to pop songs. He'd also learned how to play the nose flute which brings a smile to people's faces.Natasha Murphy feels more could've been done to prevent her son's death and believes the care being delivered followed a one size fits all approach.


  • On the 30th of that month, during a scheduled phone call, Ellis' psychiatrist was made aware he tried to take his own life the night before.

  • If procedures were followed he should've gone to an emergency department.

  • However he was told to carry on with an appointment with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Sheerness later that afternoon.

  • At that meeting, Ellis refused to go to hospital, and the care worker was told by a manger to call 999.

  • The inquest heard how when Ellis ran off she had tried to chase him but couldn't keep up.

  • Ellis took his own life near to Queenborough station on the Isle of Sheppey.

Ellis Murphy-Richards' mother believes her son was badly let down Credit:

Brid Johnson, Director of Operations, North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), said:

"We would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Ellis Murphy-Richards.

"Our team had a long-term relationship with the young person and delivered care based on their assessment of his presenting condition. Following the incident we conducted an investigation and reviewed our practices to ensure we continue to provide safe care.

"We will work with health and social care partners across Kent and Medway to review and improve the care and support we provide to our patients and their families."

The coroner Sonia Hayes said she would be writing a report to the North East London Foundation Trust with the aim of improving public health and safety and preventing future deaths.

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