Inquest into the death of Tracy Shelvey finds significant and gross failures

Wednesday 16 December 2015

The inquest into the death of Tracy Shelvey has found significant and gross failures on the part of the Greater Manchester Police (GMP), the Pennine Care NHS Trust and Rochdale Borough Council. Paul Clark represented Tracy’s family during the inquest.

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The case has been widely reported in the press, including by ITV News, the Guardian and Manchester Evening News.

Tracy died in February 2014, days after finding out that a man she had accused of raping her had been acquitted of her rape and the rapes of numerous other women. Tracy died after falling from the roof of the Wheatsheaf shopping centre in Rochdale. Negotiators had tried to talk her down as she complained about how the police had ‘screwed up the case’. The coroner concluded that this was an accidental death – that Tracy had not intended to end her life, but had gone to the car park roof as a protest, feeling that no state agency was really listening to her.

A ‘vulnerable adult’, Tracy was known to the local mental health service and Rochdale Borough Council but was failed by both in the wake of the trial. The coroner found a number of significant and gross failures had been made by the services that were meant to support Tracy and other vulnerable adults. Full information about the findings can be found in INQUEST’s press release.

The coroner concluded with the following words to Tracy’s family, highlighting the importance of the inquest process both in giving closure to bereaved families and in bringing about vital changes in the policies and practices of agencies:

The fact that you have remained remarkably dignified over such a difficult process amazes me. I cannot recall a case that I have dealt with in the past that has resulted in so many significant changes by so many agencies.”

The coroner has indicated that he will be making a Prevention of Future Death report.

Paul Clark, a member of Garden Court’s Inquests Team, was instructed by Harriet Wistrich of Birnberg Peirce Solicitors. Both are members of the INQUEST Lawyers Group.


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