Norwich family among relatives of coronavirus victims demanding urgent inquiry
- Credit: Goodman Family
A Norwich woman whose father died is amongst a group of family members of coronavirus victims calling for an immediate public inquiry into the crisis.
Photographer Stuart Goodman, 72, who was one of the most respected on Fleet Street, died on April 2.
He began suffering symptoms of the virus after being admitted to the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital following a cancer diagnosis on March 18.
His daughter Jo Goodman is a leading member of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK group, which consists of 450 relatives of people who have died during the pandemic.
They say that “it has become tragically clear that fatal mistakes have been made by the government in its handling of the pandemic”.
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The number of deaths in the UK from the virus passed 40,000 earlier this month.
MORE: Remembering those from our community who have died from Covid-19The group’s petition, addressed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, focuses on “legitimate public concern” over a number of issues including the timing of the lockdown, the provision of PPE to the NHS and care home sector, and the impact of the virus on ethnic minority communities.
The group says that the inquiry needs to be immediate to learn from mistakes in preparation for a potential second wave.
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In a tweet Jo Goodman said: “The government didn’t bother protecting my dad, a shielder who contracted Covid pre-lockdown, and it appears they’d still rather score a headline pretending it’s safe than properly protect the most vulnerable.”
The group’s lawyer Elkan Abrahamson said an early inquiry should be held prior to any complete formal proceeding, which is expected to take place once the pandemic is over.
“What we need to look at straightaway are the issues which are life-and-death decisions,” he said.
“We expect there will be a second spike. We want to know what the Government is going to do when that happens.”
A Government spokesperson said: “At some point in the future there will be an opportunity for us to look back, to reflect and to learn some profound lessons.
“But at the moment, the most important thing to do is to focus on responding to the current situation.”
MORE: ‘We weren’t ready to let him go’ - tributes after photographer dies from coronavirusMr Goodman, who worked as a newspaper photographer and picture editor after first making his name with prize-winning pictures of the IRA Balcombe Street Siege in London in 1975.
Over the years he worked for titles as diverse as The Guardian, The Daily Mail and the Independent as a photographer and as picture editor of the Evening Standard.
The Goodman family later moved to Norfolk where he studied for an MA in Photography at Norwich School of Art and taught A-level photography until his retirement in 2010.
His daughter told the Independent last month: “I 100 per cent hold the government responsible for my dad’s death.
“They treated people like my dad as expendable and it was totally avoidable if they’d acted sooner.”