Griev­ing par­ents call for

Pep­per spray prank In­quest finds 22-year-old woman was failed by ser­vice

Sunday Sun - - News - By Sean Sed­don Re­porter sean.sed­don@reach­ @sed­don­news

FORTY peo­ple were treated by paramedics af­ter pep­per spray was re­leased in­side a night­club.

Rev­ellers com­plained of short­ness of breath and sting­ing eyes fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent at Cameo in Bournemouth in the early hours of yes­ter­day, Dorset Po­lice said.

One per­son was taken to hos­pi­tal as a pre­cau­tion.

Of­fi­cers were called to the club in Fir Vale Road at 2am and man­age­ment evac­u­ated the venue, which was filled with up to 2,200 club­bers on the night, Cameo said.

Cameo posted a state­ment on Face­book which read: “Last night there was an in­ci­dent in the main room at the club where a small can­is­ter of pep­per spray was set off on the dance floor.

“This was a silly, point­less act and we hope those of our cus­tomers who were caught up in it are feel­ing bet­ter to­day and are now fully re­cov­ered.” RACHEL Tasker’s par­ents al­ways thought their daugh­ter was failed by men­tal health ser­vices – now they know for sure.

The 22-year-old was found dead in a New­cas­tle ho­tel room on Oc­to­ber 1.

She had been miss­ing for two days be­fore her body was dis­cov­ered.

Ms Tasker had been sec­tioned in March 2016 and she died while on leave from the Lon­don hos­pi­tal ward she’d been liv­ing on.

An in­quest into her death ruled she was failed by men­tal health ser­vices. Her par­ents – both doc­tors – are now call­ing for change.

Her father, Chris Tasker, said: “The in­quest only cov­ered the last six months of Rachel’s life, but her prob­lems started a long time ago.

“The ser­vices that are out there for young peo­ple need to be much, much

bet­ter. I haven’t got all of the an­swers, but I think some young peo­ple with prob­lems like Rachel will do badly be­cause the ser­vices aren’t up to scratch.”

In March 2016, Ms Tasker was liv­ing in Lon­don with a fam­ily mem­ber, but she had started tak­ing il­licit sub­stances and psy­chosis had set in.

She was de­tained un­der sec­tion three of the Men­tal Health Act and put in a South Lon­don and Maud­s­ley Trust (SLAM) hos­pi­tal.

Doc­tors con­cluded her vul­ner­a­ble state might put her in harm’s way but she was not iden­ti­fied as be­ing a “de­lib­er­ate” risk to her­self.

Ms Tasker felt well enough to live in­de­pen­dently but a spell liv­ing in sup­ported ac­com­mo­da­tion didn’t work out and she re­turned to the hos­pi­tal in Au­gust 2016, a sit­u­a­tion she found “in­creas­ingly dis­tress­ing”.

Not long af­ter re­turn­ing to the ward, she was granted leave to re­turn to New­cas­tle to stay with her par­ents.

A “care plan” was drawn up for her pe­riod of ab­sence and she was driven home by her dad.

On Septem­ber 22, Ms Tasker was dis­cov­ered un­con­scious in her bed­room at her par­ents’ home af­ter tak­ing an over­dose.

Staff at the Royal Vic­to­ria In­fir­mary helped her pull through and her mum told doc­tors in Lon­don what had hap­pened. But Ms Tasker went miss­ing on Septem­ber 29, trig­ger­ing a po­lice search. On Oc­to­ber 1, her body was found in a city cen­tre ho­tel. She had taken an over­dose and left notes. “We miss her, we love her”, Mr Tasker said af­ter the in­quest. “She had a very hard life, but the real Rachel is a lovely young lady who never re­ally got the chance to be­come an adult.” Ms Tasker was born and raised in Jes­mond, at­tended Church High School and Gos­forth Acad­emy, and from an early age was bright and artis­tic. “She was a cre­ative young woman who loved learn­ing new lan­guages, loved mu­sic, loved draw­ing comics and mak­ing videos,” her dad re­called. As the child of two GPs in one of the city’s most af­flu­ent sub­urbs, her life might have looked pic­ture per­fect from the out­side. But early in her teens Ms Tasker bat­tled men­tal health is­sues, in­clud­ing anx­i­ety and eat­ing disor­ders. Her fam­ily said she didn’t want to leave

Chris Tasker with his daugh­ter Rachel; right, Rachel through the years

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