A PONTYPOOL man who died in a garage explosion took his own life, an inquest jury has concluded.

Christopher Jones died in an explosion in the garage at his mother and step-father’s house on Coed Camlas in New Inn on July 22, 2019.

South Wales Argus:

Mr Jones, 32, had been a patient at the Talygarn Unit at Pontypool's County Hospital, and had been permitted a two-hour period of unescorted leave from the ward on the day of his death.

Mr Jones was suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome and paranoid schizophrenia - the latter manifesting in fixed beliefs that he could control fire and that aliens were invading his thoughts.

South Wales Argus:

Mr Jones’s records, upon being transferred from to Talygarn from Ty Skirrid in Abergavenny in June, stated that he was at ‘high risk of suicide'.

The records were also marked with ‘all staff please read’.

The purpose of Mr Jones’ detention under the Mental Health Act, the jury heard, was to reduce his risk of suicide.

South Wales Argus:

However, Louise Hale, named nurse and mental health nurse at Talygarn, told the inquest jury that she had not seen this document when Mr Jones was transferred to Talygarn.

The jury heard that staff at Taylgarn had indicated that they had little or no training in dealing with patients with Mr Jones’ combination of conditions.

Mr Jones' mother said she was unaware that her son had been allowed unescorted leave from the ward at the time of his death.

South Wales Argus:

Senior coroner for Gwent Caroline Saunders said: “If he took all the leave he was allowed on a daily basis, that is a lot of time off the ward.”

Delivering their narrative conclusion, the jury said: "Christopher Jones was suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome and paranoid schizophrenia.

"On July 22, 2019, he died in a fire which he started at his mother and step-father’s house on Coed Camlas in New Inn.

"At the time, he was on leave from Talygarn Unit at Pontypool's County Hospital where he was detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act.

"Mr Jones’ cause of death was suicide."

South Wales Argus:

Speaking directly to Mr Jones' mother, who was present at proceedings, Ms Saunders said: "I know how difficult it must have been to sit through and witness the evidence.

“Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of Christopher.”

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