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Elizabeth Grace instructed in inquest into the death of a five year old at The Children’s Trust

Elizabeth Grace acted for the foster family in a case involving the death of a 5 year old boy who was tragically killed after being trapped under a cot bumper whilst in the care of The Children’s Trust, a brain injury rehabilitation facility for children.

Prior to his death, Connor Wellsted was undergoing a period of rehabilitation at The Children’s Trust. Even though Connor had suffered a cardiac arrest resulting in a brain injury when he was just five weeks old, he was making remarkable progress under the care of his foster parents, who were his permanent carers from the age of just five months. He was at the centre to improve his level of mobility as a result of his brain injury.

The Coroner found that Connor’s tragic death was caused by a 2kg cot bumper coming loose from his cot and compressing his neck, trapping him in position, causing death by compression asphyxia. HM Assistant Coroner Dr Karen Henderson described the circumstances surrounding Connor’s death as “a significant lapse in care”. She also went on to say: “I’m satisfied The Children’s Trust failed to properly secure the cot bumper appropriately and in so doing failed to keep Connor safe in his cot.”

Connor was not discovered until several hours after his death. It was later found that the cot hadn’t been serviced in four years, and that there were no systems in place to ensure that the bumpers were properly and safely attached. The Coroner was also highly critical of the manner in which the Trust subsequently dealt with Connor’s death, including the investigation into how Connor had died, which the Coroner described as seeking to minimise the involvement of the cot bumper. She also found that the Children’s Trust had misled the CQC.

The Coroner indicated she would make a preventing future deaths report as a result of the findings she made as to the circumstances of Connor’s death, noting: “If you cannot be open when something goes wrong and be fair and helpful then I believe then it is of sufficient severity for me to write a Preventing Future Deaths report to the relevant authorities which will include the CQC, clinical commissioning groups and further to the Department of Health”.

Elizabeth Grace was instructed by Charlotte Connor of AvMA, on a pro bono basis, to represent the foster parents.

This inquest attracted widespread media attention in a number of national newspapers, including The Express, The Sun, The Mirror, and The Star.

Find out more

Elizabeth Grace works across all of Chambers’ core practice areas. She regularly appears in the County Court and the Employment Tribunal, and has also appeared in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

To find out more, contact Nick Levett +44 (0)20 7427 4908 or Adam Macdonald +44 (0)20 7427 4906 for a confidential discussion.

Clinical Negligence, News, Personal Injury 17 May, 2022


Elizabeth Grace

Call: 2017

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