The inquest into the death of 17 year old Charlie Millers due to open today at Rochdale Coroner’s Court has been adjourned to December 2023 due to a Greater Manchester Police (‘GMP’) investigation into the circumstances around Charlie’s death at Junction 17.
Charlie had been a mental health inpatient at Pegasus Ward, Prestwich Hospital in December 2020 when he died from self-inflicted injuries. The hospital is run by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (‘GMMH’).
Charlie was one of three young people to die at the hospital in less than a year.
Charlie was a transgender teenager who had experienced behavioural issues since primary school and mental ill health since the age of 11. He was diagnosed with ADHD and autism.
On Friday 27th January, the court received information regarding Datix records and questions around whether the records had been accessed and edited since Charlie’s death. Greater Manchester Police conducted a review of the initial investigation into Charlie’s death. Having reviewed various documents, GMP have concluded that a further investigation needs to be carried out.
The focus of GMP’s investigation will be the written documents and digital records and may lead to witnesses being interviewed under caution. In addition to the people who were there on the day of Charlie’s death, GMP will also look at the role of more senior management on Junction 17.
The inquest has been adjourned pending GMP’s criminal investigation which is estimated to take up to six months to complete. The inquest has been provisionally relisted for three weeks from 4 December 2023.
Sam Millers, Charlie’s mother, said “We have waited over two years to get answers over Charlie’s death and yet still new and important evidence is being unearthed causing further delays to the process.
As Charlie’s mum is it very difficult to get to this stage and face the prospect of another long delay. Greater Manchester Police need to take this issue very seriously to ensure we get justice and accountability for Charlie, and that other young people are kept safe.”
Jodie Anderson, Senior Caseworker at INQUEST, said: “Not only do medical professionals and NHS Trusts have a duty of care to their patients, they also have a duty to cooperate with investigations into their deaths. Yet too often we see a culture of delay, denial and obfuscation at inquests which frustrates justice and delay vital change.
This family have waited years for answers, and now face yet more delay as deeply concerning evidence has come to light. We hope this investigation will enable a full and thorough examination of the care Charlie received and will progress with urgency.”
Kelly Darlington (Partner) and Alice Wood (Solicitor) of Farleys Solicitors added, “It’s disappointing that Charlie’s inquest has been adjourned and the family face further delay as they wait for answers. The issues raised are concerning but we are reassured by the level of scrutiny into Charlie’s care and await the GMP’s criminal investigation.”
The family are represented by Kelly Darlington and Alice Wood of Farleys Solicitors, and Ciara Bartlam of Garden Court North chambers. They are supported by INQUEST senior caseworker, Jodie Anderson.