A MOTHER has spoken of her shock at the sudden death of a son who, she claims, was abandoned by mental health experts.
She found her paraplegic and drug addict son, John Craib, dead at her home in Dalneigh in Inverness – hours after he had pledged for the first time that, after years of self-abuse, he was going to clean up his act.
His mother and two sisters said they loved him dearly but that he was a deeply troubled man who needed treatment for what they considered to be "mental health issues."
The 30-year-old, who was left paralysed from the chest down in an accident more than a decade ago, was never declared mentally ill by the authorities.
His family had contacted the Highland News in a last-ditch effort to highlight his plight and to have him "locked up for his own good and that of others."
Tragically, just 48 hours later, his mother Isabella Brown (58) found him dead on a sofa on the ground floor of her Bruce Gardens home.
Mr Craib, who was homeless, had turned up at the house on Saturday afternoon and fallen asleep.
After his mother went to bed he accidentally sparked a midnight kitchen fire while trying to light a roll-up cigarette on the gas cooker.
Having dealt with that, Mrs Brown returned to bed. She found him dead on Sunday morning. A post-mortem will follow.
"It was a shock," she said. "He’d been like a cat with nine lives."
Mr Craib’s sister Colleen Ramsey said: "He’d been in good form on Saturday. He was saying he’d never let another needle touch his arm and when he gets his next house he’d clean his act up and get help – and then this happened and everything was a little too late.
"He’d never said anything like that before."
She added: "He really needed help. We want something to happen with mental health. They need to acknowledge a lack of support from the mental health authorities."
His other sister, Keri Craib, said the family would seek legal advice against experts who refused to certify him as mentally unfit.
His family said Mr Craib had served a series of jail terms for offences involving drugs and antisocial behaviour with his most recent sentence coming after he head-butted a doctor at New Craigs Psychiatric Hospital when he was admitted there for assessment.
The family argues that Mr Craib had been a "vulnerable adult" who should have remained in the care of social services, but were told by experts at New Craigs that "they had done all they could."
Mr Craib’s family said he had quit a council home tenancy in MacLennan Crescent, Merkinch after a hanger-on tied him to his wheelchair and robbed him in his own home.
Keri Craib said: "He’d also been suffering from life-threatening sepsis and at the point where he felt totally abandoned. New Craigs decided to throw him out with nowhere to stay.
"We wanted him put into a locked ward and to get the help he needed because he was a danger to himself and others. Social work knew that. He was put in a locked ward the last time because he could be violent.
"They say he didn’t have mental health problems but yet they diagnosed him with antisocial personality disorder."
A spokeswoman for NHS Highland said: "This has been an extremely complex and upsetting case.
"We’re sorry the family are not happy with the service Mr Craib received.
"We would encourage them to get in touch with us via the feedback team so we can discuss this with them directly."