Before  HM Assistant Coroner Mr Heath
Sitting at York Innovation Centre
York Science Park, Heslington, York, YO10 5DG

Opens  Tuesday 17 April 2018 at 10am – expected to run for 2 weeks.

Daniel ‘Danny’ Tozer, 36, was diagnosed with autism, epilepsy and learning disabilities. He was a resident of a supported living home operated by the charity Mencap at Maple Avenue in Bishopthorpe, York. In September 2015 Danny was found unresponsive in his room, and was taken to hospital where he later died. The consultants at the hospital concluded that he had a cardiac arrest, as a result of an epileptic seizure.

Danny’s family describe him as a people person who enjoyed travel, playing his piano, and activities such as running, walking, cycling and horse riding as well as visiting the seaside, pubs and cafes with friends and family. 

Danny was recognised as not having the capacity to make decisions and required 24 hour help and support. He had been a resident of Maple Avenue for two years and his care was commissioned by the City of York Council with partial continuing health funding. He was unable to speak and could not leave the residence unaccompanied. The family understood that Danny was subject to frequent checks, due to the risks associated with his epilepsy. However, he was reportedly left for 30 minutes without being observed, during which time he became unresponsive. 

The family hope that the inquest will examine how, and under what circumstances Danny died and will consider the responses of all agencies to concerns they raised over two years about his support and safety.

Danny’s parents Rosie and Tim Tozer said: “Danny tried to enjoy life to the full in his unique way and he had much to live for.  His sudden death was a tragedy which has devastated his family and friends and should have been preventable.”

Deborah Coles, INQUEST Director said: “Danny’s family have had a long struggle for answers about how he died. They had to fight for an inquest, and despite the Coroner ruling that Article 2 applied, were refused public funding for legal representation.

This is an all too familiar example of the inequality of arms for families at inquests. Both York City Council and the charity Mencap are represented by legal teams paid for by the public purse, and the charity. The Tozer family have had to burden the cost of this themselves, supported by INQUEST Lawyers Group members.

INQUEST is deeply concerned that the deaths of people with learning disabilities do not receive a sufficient level of scrutiny. We are monitoring such deaths closely and will continue to campaign for the rights of the families concerned.”

ENDS


NOTES TO EDITORS
For further information and to note your interest, please contact Lucy McKay on 020 7263 1111 or here

INQUEST has been supporting the family of Daniel Tozer since 2015.  The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Gemma Vine of Minton Morrill Solicitors and Ben McCormack, Garden Court North Chambers.

The interested parties represented at this inquest are:

  • Daniel’s Family
  • City of York Council
  • Mencap
  • York Hospital
  • Care Quality Commission
  • NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups

The inquest will be live tweeted throughout by activist and campaigner for open justice, George Julian at twitter.com/TozerInquest

Premature deaths of people with learning disabilities:

  • People with learning disabilities have poorer health and shorter life expectancy than those without. The latest statistics from NHS digital found that males with learning disabilities had around a 14 year shorter life expectancy than the general population.

  • Epilepsy is more common in people with a learning disability than in the general population. About 1 in 3 people (32%) who have a mild to moderate learning disability also have epilepsy. The more severe the learning disability, the more likely that the person will also have epilepsy. (Epilepsy society)

  • 42% of deaths of learning disabled people are considered to be premature, and over a quarter are amenable to better-quality healthcare, found the first largescale inquiry of its kind published in 2013, The report of the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities (CIPOLD).