Ex-Liverpool footballer died at Norwich hospital from 'neglect', daughter tells inquest
PUBLISHED: 18:01 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:33 27 November 2018
The daughter of an ex-footballer who died in a Norwich hospital today blamed the care he received there for his death, and said she will not stop fighting for justice “even if it takes years”.
Tina Lockey, 49, represented herself at an inquest at Norfolk Coroners’ Court into the death of her father, Thomas Francis Lockey, known as Frank, after she said she had been denied legal aid.
But at the inquest on Monday, November 26, which lasted more than six hours, senior coroner for Norfolk Jacqueline Lake said she did not believe neglect had contributed to Mr Lockey’s death.
Mrs Lake said she would record her conclusion as to Mr Lockey’s death on Wednesday, December 5.
Miss Lockey, from Dereham, told the court: “I honestly believe my dad would still be alive today if it wasn’t for the level of care he received.
“In my opinion, over a significant period of time my dad was neglected by the care there in the last few months of his life when he was at his most vulnerable.”
Mr Lockey died on August 24, 2017, at Hammerton Court, Julian Hospital, in Norwich. He was found unresponsive in a chair.
The 85-year-old suffered from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
A post-mortem found the cause of Mr Lockey’s death was ischemic heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
The former Liverpool FC player was admitted to Julian Hospital six months earlier, on February 2, 2017. He was initially admitted onto Beach Ward and later transferred to Reed Ward.
Miss Lockey, who put together her case for the inquest while undergoing treatment for aggressive breast cancer, told the inquest she had serious concerns about the care her father received while he was a patient, including the level of observation from staff and unexplained cuts and bruises.
She was audibly emotional as she told the coroner: “It’s been tough. I’ve gone through hell.
“I don’t believe a lot of what’s been said.”
Dr Hugo de Waal, consultant psychiatrist at the Julian Hospital, who specialises in old age, said he had no concerns that any of Mr Lockey’s injuries were caused by anything other than falls due to his Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s or day-to-day restraint by hospital staff.
Dr de Waal said: “In the daily and weekly reports on the bruises there was no one point where I did not think these bruises and cuts were not unfortunate bits of damage incurred due to falls.”
He said: “We know what that damage looks like. I had no cause for concern during Mr Lockey’s stay with us. The bruising can be dramatic and people of a certain age can bruise quite easily. It can be distressing when you see it.”
However, he added: “The distinction between bruises that are a direct result of malignant force being used against you or the direct result of day to day falls can be difficult to distinguish.”
In response to Miss Lockey’s concern over staff not observing her father frequently enough, Dr de Waal said: “Nursing staff are under instruction not to disturb families when they are visiting to allow them some privacy.
“We were perhaps not clear enough about that. That’s why Mr Lockey was not observed when the family were there.”
Staff disability and mental health nurse at Julian Hospital, Robert Pike, said: “He was quite distressed on the ward.”
He characterised Mr Lockey as a “fiercely independent man.
“He would attack staff at times, and other patients, sometimes unprovoked.”
Mr Pike told the court Mr Lockey sustained a number of falls during his time at the hospital, and that he was “very unsteady on his feet”.
Dawn Collins, deputy chief nurse at the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), which operates Julian Hospital, and others, told the court a serious incident report (SIRI) had been carried out after Mr Lockey’s death to give the trust the opportunity to improve best practice. Miss Collins said: “The matron has set up new clinical documentation education sessions.”
She told the court ten of these have already taken place; one will take place today; and three more will be held before Christmas.
She said she had visited the hospital after Miss Lockey raised a number of concerns with her and steps were being taken to ensure observations were properly and promptly recorded.
Detective Sergeant Lee Diggins said Miss Lockey had raised concerns about the hospital with Norfolk police on two occasions.
He said: “The family held the belief that Mr Lockey was suffering assault, but there was no evidence no for this.
“There was no evidence of criminality.”
Speaking after the inquest, Miss Lockey said: “I’m not going to stop. I’ll fight all the way, even if it takes years.
“If I can help others, I’ll do it. I can’t give in. It’s not fair.
“I’m a fighter.”