Care Quality Commission to prosecute care charity after teenager's death

The Richmond Psychosocial International Foundation and Peggy Jhugroo, former manager of one of the charity's care facilities, face prosecution after the self-inflicted death in 2016 of Sophie Bennett

Lancaster Lodge
Lancaster Lodge

The Care Quality Commission is to prosecute a care charity in relation to the self-inflicted death of a teenager at one of its care homes.

The Richmond Psychosocial International Foundation and Peggy Jhugroo, former manager of the charity’s Lancaster Lodge care facility in Richmond, south-west London, will both face prosecution over an alleged failure to provide safe care and treatment to Sophie Bennett, according to a statement issued by the law firm Bindmans on behalf of the Bennett family.

Bennett, then 19, died on 4 May 2016 while staying at Lancaster Lodge after diagnoses of bipolar affective disorder, social anxiety disorder and atypical autism.

An inquest earlier this year concluded that neglect had contributed to her death.

The Charity Commission opened a statutory inquiry into the charity on 5 March.

The Bennett family welcomed the opening of the inquiry at the time but criticised the regulator for not taking swifter action.

In a statement, the CQC said the charity was being prosecuted over an alleged failure to provide safe care and treatment resulting in a service user being exposed to the significant risk of avoidable harm under regulations 12 and 221 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

The CQC also said an individual would be prosecuted in this respect pursuant to section 91 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

The case is listed for a first hearing at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on 24 May.

In a statement, Bennett’s family said yesterday: "This week is the three-year anniversary of our precious daughter Sophie’s death. We welcome the CQC's announcement today that it is to bring criminal charges against RPFI and the manager of Lancaster Lodge at the time, Peggy Jhugroo.

"It has been a constant battle to get to the truth of what happened.

"The coroner's inquest finally took place in January this year and it revealed, at last, the sequence of events leading to Sophie's death. The inquest jury's findings were damning of the actions of those responsible for running and managing the home."

Richmond Psychosocial International Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.

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