21 October 2021

Before HM Senior Coroner Joanne Kearsley
Rochdale Coroner’s Court, HM Coroners Court
Newgate House, Newgate, Rochdale OL16 1AT

Opens 25 October 2021 - scheduled for up to two weeks

Sam Copestick, 24, was a mental health inpatient under the care of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust at Prospect Place unit in Rochdale. On 17 May 2019, he absconded whilst on escorted leave and died from self-inflicted injuries. An inquest into his death opens on Monday 25 October, to examine the circumstances.

Sam had been at the unit since June 2017, following a seven-month stay in Pennine care’s psychiatric intensive care unit. He was admitted thereafter attempting suicide, just nine days after being released from a mental health unit in Birch Hill Hospital.

Sam was a young man from Rochdale. His family says that in his younger days before becoming ill, Sam was highly intelligent, good at every sport going, and people loved him. However, he was ‘a bit lost’ and began to experience mental ill-health after starting university. Despite being in the care of mental health services, Sam’s health was showing little signs of improvement. The situation became worse after the sudden death of his younger brother.

Sam’s care plan allowed for him to take escorted leave from Prospect Place, if accompanied by two members of staff, one of whom had to be male. In recent weeks he had refused to go out, finding it too distressing. His mother had been in contact with the mental health unit twice that week to inform them Sam’s health was getting worse. Yet on the day he died Sam requested leave, seemingly out of the blue.

Leave was granted and Sam went out with only one member of staff, a female nursing assistant. She had no phone with her. Sam ultimately absconded and went on to die from self-inflicted injuries.

Sam’s family hope the inquest process will address the following issues:

  • Adequacy of risk assessments, particularly regarding self-harm and suicide.
  • Adequacy of communication between the hospital and the family and amongst the team.
  • Potential failures to implement plans to progress Sam’s care or understand his condition.


For further information, interview requests and to note your interest, please contact Selen Cavcav on [email protected] or 020 7263 1111

Sam’s family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Ruth Bundey from Harrison Bundey Solicitors.

The family is supported by INQUEST caseworker Selen Cavcav.  Other Interested persons represented are Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Journalists should refer to the Samaritans Media Guidelines for reporting suicide and self-harm and guidance for reporting on inquests.