Death of Nico Reed: Coroner rules that Article 2 applies to residential care placement and that Nico’s death could have been prevented

12.12.14 | |

On 11th December 2014, HM Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire, Mr Darren Salter, gave his Conclusion into the Inquest touching upon the death of Nico Reed, a profoundly disabled young man with athetoid cerebral palsy, who died by aspirating gastric contents in the early morning of 22 August 2012 while being cared for at Barrantynes, supported living accommodation privately funded under the auspices of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.


Overturning two of his previous rulings, at the end of the Inquest, the Coroner ruled that Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights was engaged on facts of Nico’s case.


HM Coroner also found that had Nico been more regularly monitored, there is a possibility that he would still be alive. The Coroner further noted the lack of specific risk assessment dealing with Nico’s well-documented and potentially life threatening risks of early morning vomiting, reflux and aspiration, and found that it would have been “better and preferable” had there been such specific risk assessments.


The Coroner’s Article 2 ruling was opposed by the Trust, and marks a recognition that enhanced and positive duties to protect life are owed by care providers to vulnerable residents in supported living, even if they are a private organisation.


Further information and background about Nico can be found at the Justice for Nico website, and you can follow the Justice for Nico campaign on Twitter @justicefornico.


The Coroner’s decision was the lead news item on BBC Radio Oxfordshire’s Phil Gayle’s programme. An interview with Nico’s parents, Mr and Mrs Reed, as well as Southern Health’s response, starts at approximately 02.02. You can also read about the Conclusion on the BBC’s website.


The family hopes that the Coroner’s decision will assist with their campaign for a full inquiry.


Nico’s family were represented by Graeme L. Hall, who was instructed by Nancy Collins of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

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