Connor Sparrowhawk death: Health trust accepts responsibility

Connor Sparrowhawk Image copyright Sara Ryan
Image caption Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has accepted full responsibility for the death of Connor Sparrowhawk, who drowned at a mental health facility in Oxford in 2013

A health trust has accepted full responsibility for the death of an 18-year-old who drowned in a bath at one of its facilities.

Southern Health admitted it "caused" the death of Connor Sparrowhawk in July 2013 and offered his family £80,000 compensation.

The teenager drowned after suffering an epileptic fit when he was being treated at Slade House, in Oxford.

His family said they were "glad" the trust acknowledged its failings.

In a public statement, the trust admitted it had "violated Connor's right to life" under the European Convention of Human Rights.


The statement also said the trust failed to "take all reasonable steps" to locate evidence for a coroner's inquest.

The trust, which provides mental health services for large parts of the south of England, has been heavily criticised by the teenager's family and NHS England.

A jury-led inquest in October found that "failings" by trust staff contributed to his death.

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Media captionAfter a long legal battle, a jury-led inquest decided "failings" at Southern Health caused Connor Sparrowhawk's death

A statement made by Mr Sparrowhawk's family's solicitor said: "They have fearlessly fought for truth and accountability in relation to Connor's death and, at last, the full extent of the trust's failings in Connor's care have been accepted.

"It is shameful that this was not done sooner."

In May the Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued the trust with a warning notice for the safety of patients, which resulted in former chairman Mike Petter resigning from the organisation.

Mr Sparrowhawk's mother Sara Ryan has made repeated pleas for the trust's chief executive Katrina Percy to resign, which she has rejected.

In December an investigation commissioned by NHS England found that only 272 of the 722 deaths in the trust over the previous four years were properly investigated.

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