Nikolas Clarke represents local authority Social Services department in Article 2 inquest concerning death of man in his 50s

29 January 2021

Nikolas Clarke represented the local authority’s social services department in an Article 2 inquest concerning AJM who died in April 2019.

An Article 2 inquest is an enhanced inquest in cases where the state or its agents have arguably failed to protect the deceased against a human threat or other risk such that an investigation that complies with the ECHR is required.

Background to the inquest

AJM was a 57 year old man who had been brought up in Ireland but had lived in London for many years.  In 2009 he suffered a brain injury, which caused ongoing confusion, memory loss and agitation.  He also suffered from epilepsy and dementia.

In 2016 he was assessed to lack mental capacity and it was decided that he needed to be placed in a nursing home for his physical safety and health.  He was housed in St George’s Nursing Home through local authority funding.

On 19 April 2019 he managed to leave the nursing home undetected via a fire door. The door had been shut and bolted but was not alarmed or under surveillance. He was reported missing to the police.

However, it was difficult to locate him as he had no mobile phone, bank card or travel card. He was found, 5 days later on a construction site at King’s Cross Goods Yard.  He was admitted to UCL Hospital but sadly died the same day.

The family were critical of the care provided by the home. They also questioned the decision to house him in St George’s and the adequacy of risk assessments.

The coroner’s findings

The coroner found no evidence of causative failings by the local authority and made no report for Preventing Future Deaths.  She gave a short narrative conclusion.