A depressed mother fell to her death from a fourth-floor hospital window after nursing staff were warned by her family that she was suicidal, an inquest heard yesterday.
Birmingham Coroner's Court was told that Margaret Jukes, aged 57, died of a broken neck after plunging 35ft on to a flat roof at the city's Selly Oak Hospital on March 5 last year.
Giving evidence at the hearing, which is expected to last up to four days, Mrs Jukes's son, Paul, told how she became depressed after taking voluntary redundancy from her job as a machinist on February 13, 2004.
Two weeks later, Mrs Jukes, from Marston Green, was taken to see her GP after her family discovered that she had bought 96 paracetamol tablets, apparently with the intention of killing herself.
The inquest heard that on February 29, two days after she had been prescribed tranquillisers, Mrs Jukes cut both her wrists so deeply that she needed surgery to repair tendons.
She was found standing a bus stop by a taxi driver and was admitted to Birmingham's Heartlands Hospital before being transferred to Selly Oak.
Mr Jukes, who said his mother had previously been "the backbone of the family", told the nine-member inquest jury that he had briefed nurses to watch his mother as she had already attempted suicide twice.
He added: "She was confused as to why she was doing these things to herself.
"On Thursday March 4, she was visited by my father and sister and they informed me she was again talking of suicide.
"When my sister left the hospital she informed the nurses that my mother needed to be watched carefully."
Mr Jukes disclosed that his mother, whose forearms and hands were restricted by plaster casts after an operation, had changed from her night clothes into outdoor garments before falling to her death.
Criticising aspects of the care she was given, he added: "She should have been placed in a bed where the nurses could constantly observe her from a nurses' station.
"She left the ward unchallenged and unobserved, went up two flights of stairs and found a window on the fourth floor."
Detective Constable Russell Pemberton, of West Midlands Police, informed the jury that he was unsure how the window pane had been smashed, but officers were satisfied that no other person was involved in the incident.
The case continues.