On 6th March 2019, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust pleaded guilty to criminal charges brought against them by the Care and Quality Commission (“CQC”) for failings in their care and management of 19 year old Jamie Osborne who took his own life at HMP Lewes in 2016.

The Trust was due to be sentenced on 2nd May but the hearing was adjourned.

Sentencing will take place on 14th June at Brighton Magistrate’s Court and the Judge has said the Trust face an “unlimited fine.”

Bena Brown, prosecuting on behalf of the Care Quality Commission, told the court Mr Osborne was considered “grossly psychotic” and remained “a high risk of suicide” following his transfer to the hospital wing.

She said: “They failed to provide healthcare and as a result Jamie died, and we say this was avoidable.”

The court heard:

  • At no point was Mr Jamie adequately risk-assessed at a prison where the risk of the use of ligatures was considered extreme

  • He was placed in a cell considered high-risk because of the potential to attach ligatures

  • Jamie was not given previously prescribed medication

  • A planned transfer to hospital from prison, where he was becoming “increasingly frustrated at being incarcerated”, never took place

Simon Burrows, representing the Trust, said it was deeply sorry and acknowledged Mr Osborne “died in circumstances which may have been avoided”.

He said Mr Osborne was “primarily a prisoner” and added: “When looking at culpability it is very important that this court recognises that the Ministry of Justice was an active participant in the drama which has been outlined here today.”

A statement read out on behalf of Mr Osborne’s mother, Jackie Curtis, said: “Knowing I will never speak to him again tears me apart every day.”

We have been working with Jamie’s mother since his death and, 3 years on, the many questions she has for the Prison and the Trust remain unanswered. She continues to fight for justice for Jamie.

If you would like to speak to an expert regarding legal representation at inquests, get in touch with Farleys Solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or contact us online.