POLICE were called on Wednesday, February 14, after a Wellesley Hospital patient failed to return to the secure mental health unit in Chelston.

Two members of hospital staff were seen making inquiries after the whereabouts of a man, who is now known to have been a patient, in the Iron Duke pub in Wellington town centre.

The search was taking place after midday, over a mile and a half away from the medium secure hospital, when a member of the public raised concern with the Wellington Weekly.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said the incident had been resolved before officers could arrive to assist in the search, and that the male patient had been returned to the hospital.

It comes less than a year after the Wellesley Hospital launched an investigation into convicted killer Laura Van Marle being taken on a ‘town centre day trip’ before threatening her escort with a needle and absconding.

The August 2023 incident resulted in a major manhunt with the police helicopter joining a large number of ground assets as officers swept through the town. Police took Van Marle into custody when she was captured in Bristol the following morning.

The hospital have not made the findings of that report public.

Staff at the hospital, on Wednesday, refused to deny another patient had absconded, and deferred to the press office, who did not respond before publication.