“I’ve got nothing to cover up”

A senior mental health nurse has denied accusations that she got rid of vital evidence and covered up the circumstances of a patient’s death during restraint, an inquest heard.

Former duty nursing manager Petrina Thomas was in charge at Cefn Coed Hospital in Swansea at the time of 32-year-old Kurt Howard’s death on June 29, 2002.

She was giving evidence earlier this month at an inquest into Mr Howard’s death. The inquest is being covered by thisisswansea.co.uk.

Mr Howard, diagnosed with schizophrenia, died while under restraint for 55 minutes in his room in ward five of Tegfan ward, thisisswansea.co.uk has reported.

Leslie Thomas, the barrister for Mr Howard’s family, accused Mrs Thomas of being “part and parcel” of a cover-up involving her and other nursing staff.

He leveled 11 accusations of her omitting to fill in forms correctly, washing Mr Howard’s body and his room to eradicate forensic evidence of alleged wrongdoing, and colluding with her staff to cover up their actions in restraining Mr Howard in the face-down position, including a failure to record bruising to Mr Howard’s face.

Mrs Thomas, now clinical nurse manager at Tonna Hospital in Neath, vehemently denied the allegations.

“I haven’t got anything to cover up,” she said”.

Mr Howard’s mental health problems were exacerbated by an addiction to drugs, leading to aggressive and often violent episodes, the jury has heard.

The inquest is continuing.

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