Will Young says his twin brother ‘might still be alive’ if he’d seen a psychiatrist or been detained before discharging himself from hospital and jumping to death from Westminster Bridge after nurse told in-quest he did not pressure him to give up bed

  • Rupert Young, 41, fell to his death from Westminster Bridge in July last year 
  • His twin brother, singer Will Young, had looked after Rupert for several years 
  • He asked why Rupert had not been seen by a psychiatrist while at a hospital
  • For confidential support call Samaritans on 116123 or visit www.samaritans.org 

Singer Will Young told an inquest today that his twin brother ‘might still be alive’ if he had seen a psychiatrist or was sectioned after being found on the edge of a bridge. 

Rupert Young fell from Westminster Bridge last year following a long battle with mental health and an addiction to alcohol and painkillers.

The 41-year-old, whose identical brother was thrust into the spotlight after winning Pop Idol in 2002, went to hospital four times in the week before he died, St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard.

Today, Will demanded to know why his twin was not treated face-to-face, despite repeated admissions to a psychiatric hospital and a number of attempts to take his own life in the weeks leading up to his death. 

Singer Will Young pictured today arriving at St Pancras Coroner’s Court, London, for the inquest into death of his twin brother Rupert Young

Rupert Young (right), 41, jumped to his death from Westminster Bridge in central London following years of battling with mental health and addiction, the hearing was told

The inquest heard Rupert went to hospital four times in the previous week, the final time on July 28 after being discovered by paramedics on Westminster Bridge.

Despite expressing suicidal thoughts, Rupert he was able to discharge himself on July 30 then returned to the bridge in central London to die.

His body was found with a hospital tag in the Thames.

St Thomas Hospital bosses deny any failings and say Rupert absconded.

 Will described himself as his brother’s carer before it ‘became too much’

Senior Coroner Mary Hassell allowed the singer to put questions to the St Thomas’ Hospital mental health nurse today.

Will said: ‘First of all on behalf of my family, I heartedly accept your condolences on behalf of the team and thank you for the work that you did for Rupert.

‘How many times in your experience does a person with suicidal attempts have to prevent themselves before they are seen by a clinical psychiatrist?’

He added he ‘didn’t get a sense of any aftercare’ and asked why his brother was told to ‘wean himself off alcohol.’ 

Clinical service lead for Crisis, based at Lambeth Hospital, Steven Badger conducted an investigation in Rupert’s care and found he had no recommendations in terms of his care.

Mr Badger agreed that Rupert Young was at a critical point in his life with the issues going on in his life at the time.

But Will asked why he didn’t find it necessary for Rupert to see a psychiatrist given his recent suicidal behaviour and thoughts.

He also questioned why it was appropriate to advise his brother to wean himself off alcohol after receiving hospital treatment and medication. 

Will Young continued: ‘Two attempts, four ideation with the tools to commit suicide, brought in that day with suicidal feelings, from the the bridge jumped off when he left the hospital.

‘Surely with all that a junior psychiatrist should have seen my brother face to face so he could see the signs of the patient, and in your opinion that wasn’t needed?

Mr Badger replied: ‘A psychiatrist shouldn’t necessarily have to see every patient that comes in.’

Will interrupted: ‘Therein lies my point.’

The singer’s brother had become homeless weeks before committing suicide after his brother felt unable to cope with living with him after three years.

The Pop Idol winner previously told the inquest he felt like a carer for his twin brother in the weeks leading up to his death.

Police removed Rupert from Will’s Berkshire home as a trespasser while the singer waited nearby in his car, the court heard.

This followed more than 20 years of severe depression and anxiety which provoked heavy drinking and suicidal thoughts, he explained. Rupert made calls Will described as ‘cries for help’ before his five or six suicide attempts.

The senior coroner returned a verdict of suicide.

Speaking after the inquest into the death of his twin, the singer said his brother ‘might still be alive today’

Speaking after the inquest into the death of his twin, the singer said: ‘Thank you for coming today. It is a difficult time for myself and my family.

‘Those working within the NHS did an amazing job, under very difficult circumstances, and it has never been more hard pressed than at the moment of course.

‘However, my brother is someone who had in the months and weeks before his death been into hospital on countless times following suicide attempts.

‘I understand that Rupert had been found trying to jump off Westminster bridge on July 28, and was allowed to leave hospital two days later, yet again without even having been referred to a consultant psychiatrist.

‘It is my belief that it must have, or should have been obvious to all concerned that he was at a high risk of suicide.

‘He should have been detained under the Mental Health Act for his own safety. Had this been done he might still be alive today.

‘I know we are not the only family in this situation, and I prey that lessons are learnt from this situation and that some of these deaths are prevented in the future. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you.’ 

  • For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, or click here for details.  

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