Russell-Cooke partner Sarah Towler recently represented the family of 14-year-old Robyn Skilton at the inquest into her death. Robyn tragically took her life in May 2021 following a struggle with her mental health. Her death came a month after her discharge from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
Penelope Schofield, Senior Coroner at the inquest, found that Robyn’s death was contributed to by neglect. At her summing up, she indicated that there were a number of gross failures made by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust indicated that since Robyn’s death they had made extensive changes to the way in which their child and adolescent mental health services are delivered and the Coroner directed the Trust to write to her about those. She concluded that the risk to children and young people with mental health difficulties is also a national issue, and indicated that she will send a Prevention of Future Deaths Report to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
Penelope Schofield said: "The mental health services failed Robyn as they did not recognise the deterioration of her mental health nor provide her with the care she required. Her death was contributed to by neglect. There's a clear risk other lives will be lost if we don't address this.”
Sarah Towler advised Robyn’s family throughout the inquest process, and was assisted by Nia Frobisher of 7 Bedford Row Chambers. Sarah said: “This was an extremely distressing case and the loss of Robyn is a tragedy that should never have happened to her family. No inquest has a positive outcome, however Ms Schofield’s findings have been helpful. There were many factors that led to Robyn’s suicide, but the failure by the Trust to recognise, and act in a timely manner, was clearly a major contributor to this. We can only hope that some lessons have been learned.”
Russell-Cooke’s inquest specialists are an integral part of the personal injury and clinical negligence team. They often represent the bereaved families at inquests, ensuring their views are properly represented. They advise clients on procedure in the coroner's court and can also act as advocates during the inquest hearing.