Kate Lumbers represented the family of 18 year old Ben Cowburn, who died, having placed a plastic bag over his head, in his bathroom at Longreach Psychiatric Unit, Redruth, Cornwall. He had returned to the ward from the High Dependency Unit of another hospital only days before, having taken an overdose. During the eight day inquest before a jury in Truro the Court examined a number of issues in relation to Bens care including the layout of the ward, the location of staff at night on the ward, availability of prohibited items and the fact that staff on duty that night were unaware of crucial information about Ben because they were unable to access the computerised record system.
The jury returned an open verdict concluding that a combination of short-comings in his care, including, but not restricted to poor communication and the proximity of the staff on duty contributed to his opportunity to carry out this act.
Kate was instructed by Rachel Heelis, Partner at Hodge Jones & Allen, Cornwall.