27 March 2024

Before HM Assistant Coroner Tina Harrington
Court Room 2, Chelmsford County Hall - Seax House
Victoria Rd S, Chelmsford CM1 1QH

Opens 10am 2 April 2024
Scheduled for 9 days

Sophie Alderman was 27 years old when she died whilst under the care of Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT). She was a detained inpatient at the Willow Ward in Rochford Hospital, Essex. She died on 19 August 2022. 

The deaths of mental health patients in Essex are currently subject to a statutory public inquiry, following a high number of contentious deaths and campaigning from families.

Sophie’s family describe her as a wonderful, loving person who is greatly missed. She was funny and cheeky, which always kept her family on their toes. Sophie mostly grew up in Winchester, and moved to Essex in March 2022.

Sophie had a history of serious mental ill health and self-harm. She first came into contact with mental health services at the age of 14. 

Sophie had experienced multiple mental health inpatient admissions, and received community mental health support, since her teens. She had various periods of good and bad mental health in the following years. 

In June 2016, Sophie was diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD). Sophie came under the care of Essex University Partnership Trust (EPUT) when she was admitted for assessment at Basildon Mental Health Unit on 30 April 2022. She was there for just over six weeks before being discharged on 15 June. 

Sophie was detained again, this time at the Willow Ward in Rochford Hospital, just a week later on 26 June. She died on 19 August 2022, having applied a ligature in her bedroom.

 The inquest will examine:

  • Sophie’s medical treatment, care plan and self-harm and risk assessments. 
  • Supervision and level of observations.
  • The emergency response on the day of her death.
  •  Relevant policies and procedures. 

The inquest will also look at the background to the final admission, including discharge planning from her previous admission in June.

Just weeks before Sophie was admitted to the Willow Ward, an undercover documentary reporter filmed shocking footage of poor care and abuse of other patients under the care of the Trust. This was broadcast in ‘Hospital Undercover Are They Safe? Dispatches’. 


For further information and to note your interest, please contact Selen Cavcav on [email protected] 

The family are represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Rachel Harger and Khariya Ali of Bindmans LLP and Laura Profumo of Doughty Street Chambers. They are supported by INQUEST caseworker Selen Cavcav.

Other Interested persons represented are Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).

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