MP backs man’s fight for justice after death of his son in Northampton care home

Desmond Watts with a photograph of his son Kevin, who died in 2009
Desmond Watts with a photograph of his son Kevin, who died in 2009

An MP has taken up a father’s fight for justice following the death of his son in care.

Kevin Watts, of Raunds, had Down’s Syndrome and died in hospital after being admitted on June 1, 2009, with infections, dehydration and bed sores.

Desmond Watts

Desmond Watts

A Serious Case Review held following his death highlighted failings by several agencies involved in his care – including the care home where he lived, Berrywood Lodge, Duston, Northampton.

Kevin, who was 52 when he died, had lived with his parents until 1997 before he was admitted to the care home.

His father Desmond Watts, 80, believes the system failed his son and is upset that, despite the review highlighting serious failings, no-one has ever been held to account for what happened.

He recently met Corby and East Northamptonshire MP Tom Pursglove at one of his weekly constituency surgeries to discuss the case.

Kevin Watts

Kevin Watts

Mr Pursglove said: “I was appalled to hear of the shocking ‘care’ that Kevin received and the way that his family were treated throughout the investigation, following his death.

“Clearly there were serious failings throughout, as evidenced by the Serious Case Review, and I strongly believe that Mr Watts deserves justice for Kevin – something which has been denied to date, owing to process.

“We have a duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society, which is why I take cases like this very seriously and why I took the concerns raised with me straight to Ministers for their investigation.

“Rest assured that, going forward, I will continue to do all I can to help Mr Watts.”

Mr Pursglove said he immediately spoke to Minister of State for Community and Social Care Alistair Burt to discuss the care Kevin received and the many failures involved, and to Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling to discuss the wider issue of delays, which have meant that the Statute of Limitations applies, meaning no criminal or legal action can be taken.

Mr Pursglove has asked the Leader of the House to clarify if there is any way that Parliament is able to waive this.

Both of these conversations were followed up with letters that were hand-delivered to their offices before Christmas.

The Serious Case Review revealed that wheelchair assessments carried out by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust recorded that Kevin had good vision, when he was in fact blind from birth.

The report also showed Berrywood Lodge had run for over a year without a manager.

It also suggested there was a lack of communication between all agencies involved in Kevin’s care.

It also found that although there were failings, changes could not have prevented his death.