Richard Barraclough KC leading Paul Hogben represent defendant in care home death case

September 30, 2022

On 11th August 2019 following the death of B by choking in a care home, one of the carers, S, who plated food for him was prosecuted for neglect. Richard Barraclough KC leading Paul Hogben instructed by Messrs Reeves and co. represented her.

The defence commissioned an audit of the care home. They were able to produce a history of failures and breaches of the Health and Social Care Regulated Activities Regulations 2014 by the home in 2018 and 2019 when the care home was rated inadequate and placed in special measures. The service was inspected in July 2021 when it was decided to take enforcement action and conditions were imposed on the service’s registration as a result of further breaches of the regulations.

The Prosecution and National Crime Agency instructed an expert to report after the defence investigation. The expert criticised the deceased’s care plan. In particular the care plan did not require close supervision by staff, there was no formal speech and language therapy assessment of swallowing needs; the senior nurse ignored the deceased’s wife’s advice of her husband’s condition and an original care plan, by omitting from the final plan the need for close supervision at mealtimes. The expert opined that if Mrs B’s advice had been followed, her husband would not have choked and would not have died. Importantly a hand-written addendum had been penned at the bottom of the deceased’s care plan, unsigned and undated and contradicting the typed plan by a comment that B “will rush food. Do not leave unsupervised”. This record was written retrospectively by staff in an attempt to mislead the investigators. The defence submitted that there was an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

The Crown offered no evidence and the matter has been reported to the DPP.