26 Aug 2010

Coroner criticises police handling of search for man

6:49 pm on 26 August 2010

A coroner has criticised flaws in the the way police handled the case of a man with alcohol problems who went missing from Wellington Hospital in 2008.

The body of Brent Young, who was 35, was found by his family several days later in the Wellington town belt.

Mr Young was admitted to Wellington Hospital's short stay unit on 14 January 2008, pending transfer to a detoxification unit, but left next day without telling anyone.

His friends filed a missing persons report that night, but told Coroner Ian Smith they felt police were unresponsive.

Mr Smith says there appeared to be serious deficiencies with the police process once Mr Young was reported missing.

The coroner has recommended that police and the Capital & Coast District Health Board establish protocols to minimise delays in a search being mounted when someone goes missing from the hospital.