Team GB star, 22, found dead in Travelodge had ‘future stolen from her’

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A Team GB basketball star found dead in a Travelodge became "unrecognisable" in her final few months, her heartbroken mum has said.

"Talented" Morwenna Johnson, 22, represented Team GB after suffering a spinal stroke which left her in a wheelchair aged 18, StokeonTrent Live reports.

She was admitted to Harplands Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent on October 23, 2019, following a diagnosis of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.

Ms Johnson and was discharged to a Travelodge two months later on New Year's Eve because the council's housing office was unable to find her more suitable accommodation.

Feeling isolated at the hotel, Ms Johnson returned to Harplands on January 11, 2020, but was discharged again on January 14 to the same Travelodge in Talke.

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Just three days later, she hanged herself in her room and was found by staff after a concerned friend raised the alarm, an inquest heard.

Ms Johnson's mum Anita Hastings said at the inquest: "As Morwenna's family we are overwhelmed with sadness.

"We have to remember and hold on to who she was and not how her short illness transformed her. The manner of her death will never define her.

"In her last three months she became isolated from us. She had always lived with us throughout her life. October 2019 was the last time I saw her.

"She lived for three more months and became someone we barely recognised. She was a much-loved daughter and sister who had her future stolen.

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"The person she became was unrecognisable to us. Being discharged to a Travelodge, not once but twice, is inhumane.

"We are very let down by the service we asked and trusted in caring for our daughter. As a family, we wouldn't wish this on anyone."

Harplands consultant psychiatrist Dr Raman Mittal said Ms Johnson needed to be discharged from the ward as she was becoming dependent on hospital staff.

He told the inquest: "Morwenna was self-harming while in the community, however in hospital the incidents of self-harm increased.

"She was self-harming more or less every other day and I was concerned about her becoming dependent on staff in hospital. She would self-harm more in hospital because she knew staff were around to help.

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"It was important to make her independent again."

Housing manager Daniel White said the council was not given enough time by Harplands to find appropriate accommodation for Ms Johnson when they were told she would be discharged on New Year's Eve.

In a statement, he said: "A suitable property was available, but it was not ready as it needed adaptations.

"I did attempt to suggest a later discharge to Harplands. I was concerned as it was Christmas time and the hotel was in an isolated location.

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"But she was discharged anyway. We did well getting as far as we did in the short time we had."

An internal investigation was carried out by North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust.

There were a number of care and service delivery problems identified that have now been addressed.

But the trust found it was in the "best interest to discharge, while still recognising there was a risk".

North Staffordshire assistant coroner Margaret Jones concluded that Harplands Hospital did not give the housing office sufficient time to find suitable accommodation for Ms Johnson when they discharged her on New Year's Eve.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

  • Inquests

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