Mother will 'not get closure for daughter's death'

Dawn Ellis
Dawn Ellis said the delay in reaching the inquest had kept the pain "very raw" [BBC]

A mother of a woman who took her own life on a Guernsey mental health ward has criticised the time it has taken for an inquest to take place.

Judge Grahame McKerrell delivered an open conclusion on the death of Lauren Ellis.

Ms Ellis was found dead at the Oberlands mental health unit on 17 October 2017.

Dawn Ellis said the delays with the inquest "had impacted her massively".

Judge McKerrell said it was “difficult to comprehend why this process had taken so long”.

Guernseys Royal Court states on its website: “Open verdicts will usually be recorded where there is insufficient evidence for any other verdict.”

In court, Mrs Ellis delivered a statement.

She said: “We will never have closure but the criminal case and the delay in reaching the inquest has kept the pain very raw.

“We know that a review of mental health services in Guernsey was carried out after Lauren’s passing and hope that findings from this review have been fully implemented to avoid other families suffering in this way."

'Heart of gold'

In a tribute, Mrs Ellis described Lauren as an "amazing person with a heart of gold".

"She helped so many others with mental health issues and we all miss her so much.”

In 2019, two nurses were both found not guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence in a criminal trial.

Phillip Falla, from Victim and Witness Support, told the inquest: “The circumstances relating to this death were the subject of a criminal investigation and an internal investigation by Health & Social Care.

“The investigations revealed that two members of staff working on the Crevichon ward on 11 and 12 October 2017 had failed to carry out the 15-minute Level 2 observations that had been specified for Miss Ellis.

“Official records of the checks that should have been carried out had been falsified."

She added: “As a result, the two members of the nursing staff concerned were charged with, and subsequently found not guilty, of manslaughter, following a trial in the Royal Court.”