Inquest date set 13 years on from mother’s death

INQUEST BATTLE Gladys Richards, and inset, daughter Gillian Mackenzie
INQUEST BATTLE Gladys Richards, and inset, daughter Gillian Mackenzie

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A DATE has been set for an inquest into the death of a mother at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital 13 years ago.

Gladys Richards died at the Bury Road hospital in August 1998 under the care of Dr Jane Barton.

INQUEST BATTLE  Gillian Mackenzie

INQUEST BATTLE Gillian Mackenzie

On October 25, a two-week inquest will begin and will look at the circumstances surrounding the 91-year-old’s death.

John White, a solicitor at Blake Lapthorn who will be representing Gillian Mackenzie – Mrs Richards’ daughter – said: ‘I am very pleased that the coroner has decided the inquest hearing will take place over two weeks this autumn.

‘This will give time for a thorough examination in to the events surrounding the death of Mrs Mackenzie’s mother and we are particularly concerned to hear what the nursing staff have to say.

‘Mrs Mackenzie has waited a very long time for this and understandably what happens will be of immense importance to her.’

Mrs Mackenzie approached police with concerns over her mother’s care after she died.

It was this case that initiated the original investigation by Hampshire Constabulary into the deaths at the Gosport hospital.

Inquests into the deaths of five other patients at the hospital took place in 2009 when a jury ruled drugs prescribed by Dr Barton contributed to the deaths. Mrs Richards’ inquest was not included.

But, as previously reported, in May this year Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire coroner David Horsley agreed to an inquest.

The Portsmouth coroner’s office said the October 25 date is provisional.

When asked why the inquest has taken 13 years to take place, a spokeswoman for the coroner’s office said there had been a delay because Mrs Richards’ death was under police investigation.

Mrs Richards was admitted to Gosport War Memorial Hospital after suffering a fall at a nursing home where she was staying.

As a result of the fall she sustained a fracture to her right hip.

This led to an operation at the Royal Hospital Haslar and Mrs Richards was then transferred to Gosport War Memorial Hospital for rehabilitation.

Mr White said: ‘Whilst the coroner is going to look into the occurrence of the original fall it is, of course, apparent to him that one of the consequences of that fall and the fracture was the need for Mrs Richards to receive some pain relief.

‘It is the circumstances of the administration of that pain relief that he will also be considering and therefore the details of the care that was provided by Dr Barton and the ward staff.’

Mrs Mackenzie did not want to comment about the pending inquest.

She and her sister Leslie O’Brien will give evidence at the inquest. Dr Barton and nursing staff will also give evidence during the hearing.