A MILFORD Haven man, whose family asked police to section him, claim he could still be alive if that request was supported, an inquest heard yesterday, October 31.

Gary Thomas Phillips, aged 31, of Rectory Avenue, died on July 1 of this year.

The coroner has yet to reach a formal conclusion on how Mr Phillips died.

However, his family believe a request for him to be sectioned under the mental health act may have save his life.

At the second pre-inquest hearing in to Mr Phillips’ death, it was agreed the report should be looked at by an independent mental health specialist.

The first hearing, in September, heard that eight weeks before his death, Mr Phillips had tried to take his own life.

His car was found down at Hubberston Fort, Milford Haven, and a search by the emergency services, including police, firefighters and the coastguard took place.

Mr Phillips was later found, and was detained at Haverfordwest police station overnight.

Mr Phillips’ mum, June, had asked police he be sectioned for his own protection.

That inquest heard Mrs Phillips state her request "fell on deaf ears," with a claimed reply of “He’s a big boy now” from the officer.

Wednesday’s second pre-inquest heard Mr Phillips had initially been arrested for claimed criminal damage of property belonging to his partner Katherine Lee, and a breach of the peace.

However, Mrs Phillips told the hearing: “Gary was threatening to take his life, the main reason she [Katherine] phoned the police was for his own protection.”

Katherine Lee told the hearing Mr Phillips had threatened to self-harm while communicating with a Facetime online call.

Mrs Phillips then said she had made the call for Mr Phillips to be assessed following the search for him, adding that police reports did not mention her repeated requests for this.

“I said: ‘He needs help, he’s threatening to take his own life, he’s taken a rope’; none of that is in the paperwork.

“I was asking them for help, I wanted my son sectioned, they even put him in an anti-harm suit. The officer said: ‘He’s a big boy now’. Why have they ignored all of us?

“They missed what they should’ve done: ‘Serve and Protect,’ I was not served, and he was not protected.

“It was like Miami Vice down there [Hubberston Fort] but they completely brushed it under the carpet, they didn’t want to know; not in any of the statements does it say we’ve asked him to be sectioned.”

Those concerns were echoed by Mr Phillips’ partner and his brother.

HM Coroner for Pembrokeshire Mark Layton said the police assessment showed no history of self-harm, nor recorded any current self-harm thoughts.

The family stressed they were not seeking any form of compensation, but were trying to prevent the unnecessary loss of any other lives.

Mrs Phillips later said: “When they picked Gary up he was not in his own mind; I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

“I do think we need to step up to listen to people, there’s an epidemic of young people dying.

“At the end of the day they didn’t listen."

The next hearing of the inquest is expected to take place on February 28 of next year, with a string of concerns, and requests for further information, being raised.