Family wins second chance to probe into death of beloved brother

Peter Seaby, who died aged 63 while a resident at The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home, in Mattishall in May 2018.

Peter Seaby, who died aged 63 while a resident at The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home, in Mattishall in May 2018. - Credit: supplied by the Seaby family

The family of a disabled man who died with a slice of carrot lodged in his throat have been given a second chance to question the care he received.

Peter Seaby, a former resident of the Oaks and Woodcroft care home in Mattishall, died in 2018 at the age of 63 - with an inquest jury concluded that he died of natural causes.

However, following six days of evidence his family felt there were still questions to be answered about his care and demanded their concerns be addressed.

His two siblings, Mick and Karen, launched a judicial review against the inquest's outcome, which sought to quash the hearing.

The pair were particularly concerned about how Mr Seaby ended up eating a 2cm slice of carrot when his care plan restricted him to only eating mashed or mushy food.

The previous inquest heard that he had died from aspiration pneumonia and that eating the carrot had not contributed to his death.

But now, the circumstances around his death are to be probed again after the judicial review succeeded and the inquest's conclusion was quashed.

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It means the entire hearing will now be held again and, on Wednesday, this process began, as Mr Seaby's inquest was opened for a second time.

During the short hearing, assistant coroner Christopher Leach confirmed that the full inquest will be held from February 20, 2023, and is scheduled to last one week.

In a blog post about the case, a spokesman for Hodge, Jones and Allen - the family's solicitors - wrote: "Despite the prolonged and difficult legal journey they have had to take, the Seaby family have remained determined to find answers as to the circumstances of Peter’s death and are heartened that, following the successful judicial review, they will have the opportunity to hear all of the relevant evidence in a fresh inquest.

"Their hope is that lessons can be learned by all those involved with Peter’s care, so that other potentially avoidable deaths will be prevented."

Mr Seaby died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on May 22, 2018.

The care home has been approached for comment.


Family's reaction

In a statement released after the inquest, Mr Seaby's family said they still wanted answers.

The statement said: "We will never forget our brother. It is because of him that we want to make sure something like this never happens to any other vulnerable person in our community again.

"Peter was not the first person with learning disabilities to die in a care home in Norfolk, but after today, we hope he will have been the last.

"We strongly believe had Peter continued to live at home with, and be cared for by, his family, he would still be with us today."

The family said: "We need to see changes in the system." 


Timeline

December 2017: Mr Seaby moves into Oaks and Woodcroft care home

May 2018: Mr Seaby dies of aspiration pneumonia in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. A post mortem examination discovers a carrot slice lodged in his throat

August 2021: A jury inquest concludes Mr Seaby died of natural causes. His family applies for a judicial review

January 2022: The review succeeds and the conclusion is quashed

July 2022: The inquest opens for a second time and is adjourned for a further review hearing