Sussex health trust apologises "unreservedly" for failings before the death of Janet Müller

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Kirsten Heaven represented the family at the inquest last year, instructed by Charlotte Haworth Hird of Bindmans.

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Sussex NHS trust have apologised "unreservedly" for the failings in the case of 21-year-old Janet Müller.

Janet was a German student in her final year at Brighton University, whose body was found in a burnt-out car after she absconded from a mental health ward. She had been detained at Mill View Hospital under the Mental Health Act for her own safety. She died from inhalation of fire fumes within hours of going missing on 12 March 2015. Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw, 27, was convicted of manslaughter and imprisoned for 17 years.

An inquest into the death of Janet concluded on 15 June 2017 that failings in her care contributed to her death.

Sam Allen, the chief executive of Sussex NHS trust, stated

"We failed in our duty of care to Janet, for which I am truly sorry."

Kirsten Heaven of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties and Inquest Teams represented the family. Kirsten was instructed by Charlotte Haworth Hird from Bindmans, who said:

"The failings in Janet’s care are depressingly familiar: inadequate risk assessments, poor record keeping and communication, a failure to respond promptly to known risks, and a failure to keep a vulnerable young woman safe. Janet’s family have waited over three years for the trust to recognise and apologise for those failings and their focus has always been on obtaining justice for Janet, ensuring that other patients are kept safe and that there is a fundamental change in the way that families are treated following such a death. It is a testament to their strength and commitment that they have continued fighting for this during the darkest of times."

More information can be found on the Guardian.


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