News

Latest Campaign News

 

17 October 2018

Exhumation of Carol’s Body

Carol died on 29 June 2005. Our family were not notified of her death until 14 July 2005. We were never given the opportunity by the Coroner or Police to identify her body. After her death we requested and received a copy of the first inquest transcript, this arrived with two front sheets, one front sheet had Carol as the deceased, the other had the same reference number with a different name for the deceased, all of the identification photos and identification statements that were used to identify Carol’s body are missing, some of the death scene photos taken by the police are also missing and the ones that are still in existence are of such poor quality that it is not possible to positively identify Carol from them. Because of these issues many members of our family were not satisfied that Carol had been properly identified. In order to find the truth, on 12 April 2018 we applied to the Ministry of Justice for a licence to exhume Carol’s body. On 25 April we received an exhumation licence from the Ministry of Justice. On 5 June, in what was an extremely traumatic day for my family, the exhumation was carried out. On 6 June, five members of our immediate family gave DNA samples for comparison purposes. On 22 June we received official confirmation from the Forensic Laboratory that established definitively that it is Carol in the coffin. The results from the DNA testing are conclusive and we now have no doubts at all that Carol has been positively identified. It is an immense relief to our family and under the circumstances is the result we had hoped for. We now have peace of mind that we can go to the cemetery and know that Carol really is buried there. As it has been 13 years since Carol died, it is now not possible to do any analysis of her remains to find an actual cause of death, it has been too long, and it is highly likely that we will never find the actual cause of Carol’s death. We now accept that the exhumation is the nearest we are ever going to get to securing some closure in regards to Carol’s death.

18 January 2018

On the 17 October 2017, the Solicitor General granted his consent (fiat) for an application to be made to the High Court to quash the second inquest into Carol’s death. On 31 October, the application was submitted to the High Court. On 2 November, the application was served on the Defendant in the case (the Coroner who conducted the second inquest). On 20 November, the Defendant responded by stating that she was opposed to our application and would be contesting the case in the High Court.

On 30 December 2017, we discontinued the claim at the High Court and we have received official notification from the Court that the case is now officially closed. we have discontinued the claim for one reason only – solely on the basis of cost. The Defendant is publicly funded and all of her legal representation is paid for by the State, she would not be personally liable for any costs, the State would pay all of her costs even if she lost the case. we would have to personally pay for legal representation or represent ourselves and if costs or costs and damages were awarded against us, we would be personally liable. As it is not possible to quantify these potential costs, which could potentially run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, we have decided that the only sensible option is to discontinue the claim.

The evidence threshold for the Solicitor General to grant his consent (fiat) for an application to be made to the High Court is necessarily extremely high. This case should have been heard in the High Court and whether or not a new inquest was granted should have been decided on the evidence and not because the Coroner is legally funded by the State and my family is not. The law needs to be changed so that in cases like this, there is equal legal representation and funding where the evidence has met the evidence threshold necessary for the case to be heard in the High Court.

We are not disheartened by what has happened because although we haven’t been able to overturn the second inquest, for reasons completely beyond our control, the fact that the Attorney General’s Office assessed the evidence in the case from both sides over many months and then the Solicitor General granted his permission for us to take the case to the High Court is validation that we were correct to challenge the findings of the second inquest. The end result of this process is that there are serious unresolved question marks over the conclusions drawn at the second inquest.

We do not accept the conclusions drawn at the second inquest into Carol’s death because they are based on a narrative of events that we do not believe is true. There are many reasons why the the second inquest into Carol’s death should be quashed. The most significant reason is that there are serious questions that should be answered as to the exact location of the individual who made the 999 call in regard to Carol’s death at the time when she made the 999 call.

The facts recorded at the second inquest held into Carol’s death at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 30 September 2015. All of the following are a matter of public record.

Call Type – 999 Emergency call confirmed by all authorities at the inquest.
Reason for call – suspected drug overdose, as a result of the call, Carol was found dead in her flat in Wandsworth London by the Metropolitan Police.
The person who made the call – Dr Fisher.
Time of the call 15:14pm on 29 June 2005.
Location of the caller at the time of making the 999 call – Manchester, this was stated in oral testimony given by Dr Fisher and also recorded in the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) of the 999 call made at the time by the Metropolitan Police.
In the 999 call, Dr Fisher stated that she believed that Carol had taken a suspected drug overdose, Dr Fisher further stated in this call that ”Female will be in bedroom which is in the rear of the property.” She believes that she knows what this is all about and that the dead person was in a depressive state and she may have taken her own life… She said she would be sitting down if I wanted to give her bad news…”

The Metropolitan Police and the Coroner’s Office both confirmed that this call was a 999 call, made in Manchester and was directly received by the Metropolitan Police. In our application to overturn the inquest, we allege that this cannot be true because all 999 calls are automatically routed by British Telecom (BT) straight to the local police force to where the call is physically made. There is only one way that you can call 999 and get straight through to the Metropolitan Police and that is if you are in the London catchment area of the Metropolitan Police.

The Coroner states that she believes that the whereabouts of Dr Fisher are only of marginal relevance. We believe that the second inquest should have been overturned on this point alone. The fact that almost thirteen years later the authorities do not know where Dr Fisher was when she made the 999 call in regard to Carol’s death, in our opinion demonstrates how inadequate both previous inquests have been.

18 October 2017

We have today received the extremely good news, that after due consideration of all of the evidence provided by ourselves and the Coroner who conducted the second inquest into Carol’s death – who contested our application, and other parties, The Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP has made a judgement that our application to overturn the second inquest into Carol’s death has a reasonable prospect of success at the High Court and accordingly he has granted permission to submit our application to the High Court.

We are very pleased with this decision and we intend to submit the application very quickly. The judgement has been placed on the government website and can be found here: Family of Carole Patricia Myers (formerly known as Carol Patricia Felstead) given permission from The Solicitor General to apply to the High Court for a third inquest to be held into her death

18 August 2017

On 10 January, 2017, we submitted an official application to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to quash the second inquest into Carol’s death. The AGO accepted our application and forwarded a copy of the application to the Coroner who conducted the second inquest and requested that she submit written comments in regard to the application.

On 11 April, 2017, the Coroner submitted a 4 page written response to our  application to the AGO, this response was then forwarded on to us on June 15, 2017. In the response from the Coroner she states that she opposes our application for a new inquest.

In response to the Coroner’s comments we wrote a 40 page letter which was sent to the AGO on 28 June 2017.

We are  supposed to be receiving comments from other Interested Parties in the case, however it has been almost eight months since our application was sent to the AGO and we will not be surprised if we do not receive any comments from any other party. Once all comments from all parties have been received at the AGO, the case is placed before a Law Officer who makes a judgement of whether or not there are grounds for quashing the second inquest. The evidence threshold is very high, but if there are grounds, the AGO then gives consent in the form of a document called a fiat for the case to be submitted to the High Court in London. Many applications to the AGO are not successful and the fiat is rarely granted. We are confident that our application is robust and that there are sufficient grounds to quash the second inquest and we look forward to receiving the decision from the AGO.

There are now two possibilities:

(a) A fiat is granted – if this occurs, it is necessary that a “Particulars of Claim” document is created and this is then submitted to the High Court with all supporting documents. Three copies of all documents are sent to the High Court, one of which is sent to the legal team representing the Coroner. A High Court case number is created, as the case progresses through the court system it goes on the “Warned List” of cases which are ready to be heard. In preparation for the possibility of the fiat being granted, We have already created a substantial – approximately 64 pages ‘Particulars of Claim’ document. The document has been proof checked by various members of our family and it is completed. If the fiat is granted, We intent to submit the case to the High Court within one week of receiving the fiat.

(b) A fiat is not granted – our  goal is straightforward, we want to know the truth of how Carol died, so that Carol can rest in peace and our family can get whatever closure is possible in regard to her death. We can demonstrate irrefutably that the official narrative of Carol’s death given at both previous inquests is false, We are optimistic that a fiat will be granted.

1 June 2017

The Coroner has refused to release any of the information that has been requested.  We have written to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and asked their advice on how we may gain access to the information when the Data Controller (the Coroner) refuses to release the information, even though they have been ordered to release the information by the ICO. Here is the response from the ICO:

Further action

In many cases when we have made an assessment the data controller will follow our recommendations and may take action to ensure they comply with the DPA. In other cases however, the data controller may choose to take no action. Individuals should not expect the Information Commissioner to take any further action beyond providing an assessment.

However in cases where a data subject is concerned that an individual or organisation will not release their personal information, the data subject may exercise their right under section 7(9) of the DPA.

Section 7(9) states that if individuals consider their SAR has not been fully complied with, under the DPA they have the right to take the matter to court. In this context, section 7(9) states that:
“…if a court is satisfied on the application of any person who has made a request under the subject access provisions that the data controller in question has failed to comply with the request in contravention of those provisions, the court may order him to comply with the request.”

Should a court consider it appropriate, it may order a data controller to disclose specific sets of personal data to a complainant.

Furthermore, section 13 of the DPA concerns the right to compensation afforded to a data subject for a data controller’s failure to comply with certain requirements of the Act. It states:
“(1) An individual who suffers damage by reason of any contravention by a data controller of any of the requirements of this Act is entitled to compensation from the data controller for that damage.”

Therefore, should you wish to take action about a possible breach of the DPA by HM Coroner for Inner West London, you should do so through the courts. I would recommend however, that you seek legal advice before doing so.

After considering this advice, we have decided to wait and see if the application for a third inquest is successful, if this is the case, we would expect to gain access to this information as part of the inquest process.

18 May 2017

In January 2016, we submitted a Freedom of Information Request and Data Protection Requests from each member of our immediate family to the Coroner in regards to a 106 page statement of a key witness at Carol’s inquest,the statement was ordered by the Coroner upon specific directions from two High Court Judges and was directly about the involvement of the witness at the time of Carol’s death. At the inquest 87 pages out of the 106 page statement were redacted (censored). Our family believe that morally and legally we are entitled to see the full testimony of this witness. The Coroner refused in writing to supply any of the information. We then submitted an official complaint against the Coroner to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), stating that the Coroner was in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. The ICO have upheld our complaint and have written to the Coroner to ask that she provide all information requested by family in our Subject Access Requests (SARs). We believe that this information is very important and is crucial to providing more of the truth of how Carol died. The Coroner refused to provide any information. It then became necessary to escalate matters further. Two MP’s, William Wragg MP and Ann Coffey MP acting on behalf of our family have also requested the Coroner to provide the information, yet again, the Coroner has refused to provide any information to either MP. This matter has now escalated further. We have today received a letter from William Wragg MP who has sent us a copy of a letter that he has written to the Lord Chancellor The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP and asked if her offices can bring pressure to bear to ensure that we receive the information that we are legally entitled to.

10 January 2017

The application to the Attorney General’s Office to gain his consent to start High Court proceedings to quash the second inquest into Carol’s death has been has been completed and submitted. Tracking of the application has confirmed that it has been received today at the Attorney General’s Office.

16th October 2016

The application to quash the second inquest into Carol’s death, which is to be sent to the Attorney General’s Office is nearing completion, we have completed about 85% – 90%. New evidence has very recently come to light, which has very serious implications because it completely destroys the official testimony of a key witness at the second inquest, and as a result it also destroys the official narrative of the second inquest. We believe that we are now in a position to deliver a very strong application to the Attorney General’s Office.

29 July 2016

We have today received the final response from the Policy Team at the Information Commissioner’s Office in regards to gaining access to a key witness statement at Carol’s inquest and other documents held by the Coroner responsible for conducting the 2nd inquest into Carol’s death. The key witness statement is directly in regards to Carol’s death and is 106 pages, at the inquest 87 pages were completely redacted and the remaining pages were partially redacted. We applied under the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act to the Coroner for access to the information. The Coroner refused access to all information requested. In a very significant step forward the ICO have today found in our favour, The ICO have now requested that the Coroner provide us with all information requested in the Subject Access Requests (SARs) from each of our immediate family.

25 June 2016

After careful consideration of all of the evidence from both previous inquests into Carol’s death, We believe that it can be clearly demonstrated that the Coroners from both inquests, have deliberately withheld vital witness testimony from our family in regards to Carol’s death. we have therefore decided that it is necessary in the interests of justice to submit a further application to the Attorney General’s Office for a third inquest into Carol’s death.

1st April 2016

In January 2016, we submitted a Freedom of Information Request and Data Protection Requests from each member of our immediate family to the Coroner in regards to a 106 page statement of a key witness at Carol’s inquest, the statement was ordered by the Coroner upon specific directions from two High Court Judges and was directly about the involvement of the witness at the time of Carol’s death. At the inquest 87 pages out of the 106 page statement were redacted (censored). Our family believe that morally and legally we are entitled to see the full testimony of this witness. The Coroner refused in writing to supply any of the information. We then submitted an official complaint against the Coroner to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), stating that the Coroner was in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. The ICO have upheld our complaint and have written to the Coroner to ask that she provide all information requested by family in our Subject Access Requests (SARs). We believe that this information is very important and is crucial to providing more of the truth of how Carol died. A letter has today been sent to the Head of the Coroner’s legal team and informed him that if the information is refused, we will immediately instigate court proceedings to obtain the information. we have asked him to provide the contact details of the individual(s) from his legal team that we will need to subpoena to court.

In a separate development, we have officially complained to the regulatory body of one of Carol’s therapists about Carol’s appalling treatment. They have also upheld our complaint and found that the therapist does have a case to answer. The therapist now has to appear at a disciplinary hearing, which is yet to be arranged.

16th February 2016

On the 19th December 2014 at the High Court In London our family successfully applied and overturned the original inquest verdict into Carol’s death. The original inquest was quashed. The case was heard before two High Court Judges, the Honourable Mr Justice Ouseley and His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC, Chief Coroner for England and Wales.

The grounds for the quashing of the original inquest and the reasons for the High Court ordering a fresh inquest were as follows:

‘The reason which the parties agree justifies a fresh inquest is that the first inquest did not consider the circumstances of Dr Fisher’s emergency call and/or Dr Fisher’s involvement with the Deceased in the period around her death. In particular, the emergency call records indicate (a) that Dr Fisher had reason to suspect that the Deceased had taken an overdose and (b) that she expected the Deceased to be found in her bedroom. At the lowest, these records suggest that Dr Fisher had knowledge of the mood and behaviour of the Deceased which could be relevant to an investigation into her death. They also raise proper questions as to whether Dr Fisher actually knew or believed that the Deceased intended to take or had taken an overdose.’

On the 9th September 2015, Dr Fisher gave her testimony in regards to Carol’s death in an interview with the Metropolitan Police. The interview with Dr Fisher took place over several hours and her statement consisted of approximately 106 pages. This statement was made by Dr Fisher in the full knowledge that all of the content may be read out in its entirety, in public. At the inquest, approximately 87 pages of this 106 page statement was redacted by the Coroner, as in her opinion it was outside the remit of the inquest. In the unredacted 19 pages of Dr Fisher’s statement that was submitted to the court, Dr Fisher made a number of statements that are demonstrably false.

In January 2016, David Felstead submitted a Freedom of Information Request and Data Protection Requests from each member of my immediate family to the Coroner in regards to the 106 page statement of Dr Fisher, as justifiably we want to know the full extent of Dr Fisher’s involvement in Carol’s life. This statement is directly about the circumstances of Carol’s death. Our family believe that morally and legally we are entitled to see the full testimony of Dr Fisher.

We have today received a refusal from the Coroner of all information requested and have now submitted an official complaint against the Coroner to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

3rd February 2016

On the 19th December 2014 at the High Court In London our family successfully applied and overturned the original inquest verdict into Carol’s death. The original inquest was quashed. The case was heard before two High Court Judges, the Honourable Mr Justice Ouseley and His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC, Chief Coroner for England and Wales.

The grounds for the quashing of the original inquest and the reasons for the High Court ordering a fresh inquest were as follows:

‘The reason which the parties agree justifies a fresh inquest is that the first inquest did not consider the circumstances of Dr Fisher’s emergency call and/or Dr Fisher’s involvement with the Deceased in the period around her death. In particular, the emergency call records indicate (a) that Dr Fisher had reason to suspect that the Deceased had taken an overdose and (b) that she expected the Deceased to be found in her bedroom. At the lowest, these records suggest that Dr Fisher had knowledge of the mood and behaviour of the Deceased which could be relevant to an investigation into her death. They also raise proper questions as to whether Dr Fisher actually knew or believed that the Deceased intended to take or had taken an overdose.’

On the 9th September 2015, Dr Fisher gave her testimony in regards to Carol’s death in an interview with the Metropolitan Police. The interview with Dr Fisher took place over several hours and her statement consisted of approximately 106 pages. This statement was made by Dr Fisher in the full knowledge that all of the content may be read out in its entirety, in public. At the inquest, approximately 87 pages of this 106 page statement was redacted by the Coroner, as in her opinion it was outside the remit of the inquest. In the unredacted 19 pages of Dr Fisher’s statement

4 Responses to News

  1. Marc Ponsford says:

    ~ very similar situation happened to our family , though not as extreme . A clear case of unethical behaviour , and legislation against this form of ‘therapy ‘ must eventually be enacted by parliament . Good luck with your campaign

  2. andy hanson says:

    I am unsure if we can be of any use but if we can, we are willing to help. My partner and I have spent 30 years working inside mental health services and have a very keen insight into how those in power operate. We have both blown the whistle on failing services and managers and survived the experience. We are willing to review all the evidence you have so far collected and suggest some ways forward if we can, obviously we would make no charge for this. We have both worked at senior levels within the NHS and we are currently setting up an effective and new form of patient advocacy service. If we can be of any help please do not hesitate to contact us on the email or phone 07734581561 Yours faithfully Andy Hanson RMN BA MA and Alison Ball RMN RGN BA MA

    • Sally Hughes-Brown says:

      Andy, I too have a wealth of NHS experience at senior level, including the investigation of fraud etc, and would be more than glad to provide support on a no-charge basis to further pursue answers. From reading the material it looks as if the only way to break through the judicial impasse is via a method involving sheer volume of numbers (of people), and a collective needs to form. Please respond if this sounds useful and I will send contact details.

      • Naomi says:

        Hello

        I am a documentary producer working with the Felstead family. I wonder if you might be able to drop me a line regarding your above comment as I would be very interested in discussing this with you?

        Kindest

        Naomi

        naomi@raindaytv.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *