Family Reference Group members The INQUEST Family Reference Group is made up of people directly affected by a contentious death, and supports and contributes to our work from a family perspective. Marcia Rigg Marcia’s brother Sean Rigg died in 2008 following restraint by multiple police officers while experiencing a mental health crisis. The jury returned a four-page litany of failures by South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the police officers and others. "When Sean died back in 2008, if it wasn't for INQUEST and their lawyers my family would have been totally unaware of the huge stumbling blocks we were to face with the whole process of losing a loved one in State Custody. Frankly, it is impossible for any family to work without them! They have been a saving grace and so it is an honour to sit on their Family Reference Group, not least because it is important that families’ voices are heard jointly with INQUEST in the struggle for equal rights and justice. Families are too often wrongfully left as victims, indefinitely." Lee Lawrence In 1985, Lee’s mother Dorothy Cherry Groce was shot and paralysed by police officers following an ill planned dawn raid on her home. She died in 2011. The jury found that the shot resulted in medical complications leading to Cherry’s death. “The journey that I and my family have been on has been a very long and strenuous one. At times we did feel as though we were fighting a losing battle but whenever we began to feel consumed, we remembered the fight that mum faced for 26 years, drew strength from it, and persevered. I want to encourage other despairing families to seek the truth and find justice in their own battles.” Anna Susianta Anna’s son Jack Susianta died in 2015 after being chased by the police, causing him to jump into a canal, where he was watched drowning by a large crowd who were held back. He had previously suffered a drug-induced psychotic episode and been taken to Homerton Hospital A&E where he was subjected to a high level of restraint by police officers. "After Jack's death our caseworker from INQUEST was the only person amongst the myriad authorities involved that we could trust. She became a very important person for us through the inquest process, giving us sound advice as well as compassion. Later through INQUEST, I met other family members and gained strength and solidarity from them. I have made so many new friends at INQUEST, who understand what our family has been through. Projects and events organised by INQUEST have helped me feel positive in making Jack's story heard, and I have gained strength in making a difference and searching for social and structural change." Stella Burgess Stella’s daughter Katharine (Kate) died in March 2015 whilst an inpatient at The Dene Psychiatric Hospital in West Sussex. Kate died of sudden heart failure alone in the middle of the night and, although she had been previously physically unwell, staff had failed to check on her and their eventual attempts to resuscitate her proved too late. Kate’s inquest finally took place in November 2019, delayed by a fruitless police investigation into both Kate’s and 2 other female patients deaths at The Dene in 2015. "Despite a career in both the statutory and non statutory voluntary and community sector, I had no comprehension of the minefield that is the inquest process following the death of a loved one whilst in the care of the state. Without INQUEST, our case-worker and a successful bid for Exceptional Case Funding, we would never have been able to navigate the 4 years of countless pre-inquest reviews and 3 changes of Coroner. I am now keen to be able to give whatever support I can to other families and their loved ones who are on this torturous journey." Jess Clark Mason Clark, my beloved son, tragically passed away at the tender age of 14 while waiting to access specialised mental health services. His inquest revealed a heartbreaking truth: 'multiple missed opportunities of agencies involved with Mason to share key information amongst themselves to allow him to receive treatment for his mental health.' This devastating revelation not only affected our family but echoed a disturbing pattern. Mason was one of six children who lost their lives in similar circumstances within six months, all within the same area in 2021. This shared tragedy fuels my determination to advocate for systemic change and ensure that no other family experiences such heartbreaking loss. Losing Mason was an unimaginable tragedy, the most challenging experience of my life. Navigating the inquest process was initially overwhelming, but discovering INQUEST proved to be a turning point. Their unwavering support not only enabled Mason's story to be heard but also illuminated the failings in the system. Motivated by the desire to prevent other families from enduring similar heartbreak, I am now proud to work alongside INQUEST. My mission is to ensure that no family has to face the same failures we did and that every struggling child receives the support they deserve. I have a focus on creating informative materials tailored for professionals within essential services. These documents shed light on the unique needs of children and families, advocating for necessary adaptations in practices. My aim is to foster a compassionate and supportive environment where those in need can find the help they require.