THE SISTER of a man who was found dead on Boxing Day believes he was ‘pushed over the edge’ by comments made by a nurse about his care of his mother.

However, the nurse from Fairfield Hospital described a different set of events, in which she had offered comfort and support.

An open conclusion was recorded after the difference in the evidence heard by the coroner, and gaps in the timeline of events leading up to the death of Allan Payne, aged 59, of Queens Place, Summerseat, whose body was pulled from the River Irwell.

The area coroner Lisa Hashmi heard evidence at Coroners Service Phoenix Centre in L/Cpl Stephen Shaw MC Way, Heywood.

On Christmas Eve Mr Payne’s mother, Phyllis Payne, aged 96, was admitted to hospital with bed sores.

For the previous three years Mr Payne had been his mother’s full-time carer since leaving a job at TNT, which his family said afterwards ‘he loved’.

Sheila Kerr, aged 71, from Atherton was with them at Fairfield Hospital, she told the court her mother was seen by three nurses, including staff nurse Denise Hainsworth.

Mrs Kerr said: “She said ‘I’m going for a camera’ and came back and took the photos. Then she said ‘you two should be ashamed of yourselves, your mum is in a disgraceful state.”

Ms Hainsworth denies this happened.

Mrs Kerr told the court her brother was upset.

She said: “He was doing a lot of crying when we got back from the hospital, we went to see mum Christmas Day.”

Mrs Kerr said: “He was saying ‘could I have done more? Should I have done more? Was that nurse right?’

“I was saying, ‘no she wasn’t, you ignore what she said and you think what you have done for mum’.”

On Boxing Day morning between 3am and 6am she told the court her brother was ‘screaming and crying’. She calmed him down and he went back to sleep.

That morning at 10am she heard him go to the bathroom and heard him leave the house, she thought he was going to the shop. When she got downstairs she saw the keys were still in the door.

The court heard from both Mrs Kerr and Mr Payne’s son, John Payne, that he would always lock the door and take his keys when leaving the house, even if someone else was in.

The last time Mr Payne’s son spoke to him was in the evening on Christmas Day when they discussed visiting Nana (Mrs Payne) in hospital.

Both Mr Payne’s son and Mrs Kerr tried to contact Mr Payne on Boxing Day, calling and texting him, but received no response.

They reported him missing to the police.

An officer visited Mrs Kerr to tell her her brother had been pulled out of the River Irwell in Burrs Country Park that day.

Ms Hainsworth gave evidence, disputing what happened in the hospital. She explained how she had assessed Mrs Payne according to protocol then said: “I could see he was upset, I explained it wasn’t his fault, no one was to blame about these sores and I’d referred it to the tissue viability nurse to get the best treatment for these sores.”

A statement from a nurse on shift at the time corroborated Ms Hainsworth’s evidence and Louise Palmer, the assistant director of nursing at Fairfield General Hospital said she did not believe the statements had been colluded on.

The court heard evidence from DI Rick Thompson of Greater Manchester Police who had been on duty on Boxing Day.

He explained how he had ruled out third party involvement because there were no signs of a struggle.

He described Mr Payne as being found in the Irwell by a dog walker, Mr Payne was wearing his pyjama bottoms, a dark top and slippers. He had no coat and his phone has never been found.

Dr Ganjif Rockwalla carried out Mr Payne’s post mortem examination and also gave evidence. He recorded the death as ‘death due to immersion in water’ and said Mr Payne had bruising consistent with being face down in water for some time and being carried by a river.

Mrs Hashmi looked at suicide as a verdict but said there was no evidence of him having mental health problems in the lead up to his death.

She said: “The evidence can’t be reconciled. It’s impossible to reconcile the differences but there is an element of common ground, both could see how upset Allan was feeling about the admission of his mother to hospital.”

She said: “His action by all accounts was completely out of character, quite why he would go out in his night attire with no overcoat and property will remain unexplained.”

Both Mrs Kerr and representatives from the hospital were asked about a suicide verdict. Neither felt it was appropriate, but Mrs Kerr said: “He was pushed over the edge.”

Before the inquest Mrs Kerr had arranged three meetings with the trust to discuss what she says happened at the hospital when her mother was admitted. All three were cancelled.

Tyrone Roberts, director of nursing at the Bury & Rochdale Care Organisation, which runs Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, said: “We wish to offer our sincere condolences to Mr Payne’s family for their loss, our heartfelt sympathy goes out to them.

“We would also like to apologise for a communication error which has meant that we have been unable to meet with the family ahead of the inquest, which is unacceptable.

“We are committed to supporting Mr Payne’s family through this difficult time and we have since rearranged to meet them.”

Mr Payne’s family paid tribute to him after the inquest.

His son John said: “He used to love going to work, for 26 years he was and he’d go out on weekends and have days out with friends.”

He said his dad would come over regularly to his house in Bury, with a pound for his grandchildren, Summer, aged seven, Mason, aged four and Cody, aged one, who were saving for Disneyland.

John said: “He loved his grandkids, when he’d come round they’d aways say, ‘have you got a pound for us?’”

Mrs Kerr said: “I used to call him Kiddo.

“He was the kindest and most considerate and most loving brother any sister could want. I was so lucky.”