The family of Jonathan Malia, a physically healthy man who tragically died after he was repeatedly restrained while detained at the privately run Cygnet Mental Health hospital in Stevenage in 2013, have vowed to continue their fight for justice on the first anniversary of his inquest which returned a verdict of ‘ natural causes’.
Exactly a year ago today on the 9th October 2013, a coroner at Hatfield Coroner’s Court ruled that Malia died of natural causes, claiming he had a thrombosis, which triggered a pulmonary embolism.
Malia’s family have publicly condemned this verdict, which they say is a ‘cover –up’ and have released new images of the 24-year-old, who was also a keen sportsman, as part of a move to step up their campaign in their fight for justice.
On the 4th January 2013, the father-of-one voluntarily went to seek help at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Selly Oak Birmingham after struggling with depression.
He was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act so he was not allowed to leave the hospital and then transferred to three different hospitals in the space of four days, ending up at the privately run Cygnet Hospital in Stevenage Hertfordshire. His relatives subsequently learnt that Jonathan had injuries to both his head and arms when he arrived at Cygnet hospital, which they believe were sustained in transit.
It has been reported that for the next 10 consecutive day from Monday 7th to Thursday 17th 2013, when his partner called Cygnet Hospital to find out about Jonathan’s welfare, she was denied all access to him and told by staff he was not fit enough to come to the phone.
Just two weeks after seeking help a voluntary patient from mental health services Jonathan’s partner was informed that he had been transferred to Lister general hospital in Stevenage and that he had gone into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated.
Later that same afternoon his girlfriend was told that he has suffered another heart attack. The father-of-one was pronounced dead at 3.00pm on Thursday 17th January 2013.
Today, a year on from the inquest verdict of natural causes, Jonathan’s family say that they are no closer to closure with this disturbing case.
Jackie Sinclair, Jonathan Malia’s Mother said: ‘I am speaking out today about the death of my son as I think that a lot of questions still need to be answered. I will never accept it was natural causes. I would like to see the law changed and closer monitoring of the side effects of anti-psychotics. I know as a service users myself, that people are given quite high doses of medication, as it has happened a lot in my own case and I believe that this is what happened to Jonathan.’
Michelle Fullerton Jonathan Malia’s Aunt said ‘I know this case appears to be closed, but we want this to be re-opened. We want this to be taken further and more investigations done into why such high levels of drugs were given to Jonathan. As far as I am concerned it is a cover up and we will fight to see investigations re-opened.’
Matilda MacAttram, director of Black Mental Health UK said: ‘Jonathan Malia is one of a number of physically healthy black men, who have lost their lives after they have come in contact with mental health services. This disturbing trend is increasingly being recognised as an issue of national concern across black Briton. It is a travesty that Jonathan’s family are still having to fight for justice, over a year after his death.’
NB: Jonathan Malai’s family are calling for a change in legislation and the introduction of a new statue called ‘Jonathan’s law’ to be introduced so that there are two named people who are known as next of kin for those who are detained under the Mental Health Act, which they say is important when there are tragedies like deaths in custody.