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."

Doug Cave

Doug, a retired veterinary surgeon and business owner, joined the Inquest Board and Family Reference Group in April 2023.

His daughter, Stephanie, unexpectedly died in 2016 in an NHS-funded mental health hospital, 125 miles from home.

He is a co-founder of The LEARN Network, has qualifications in mental health first aid and suicide prevention, and is an ASIST Trainer. He is a passionate advocate for the use of Lived Experience to shape learning which can improve policies, systems and practice, and organisations as a whole.


Moira Durdy

My daughter Jess died whilst in the care of mental health services in a crisis house in Bristol in October 2020. At that moment our lives were turned upside down. 

"In the midst of unimaginable grief, and desperate to discover what had happened, we were thrown into a complex inquest process of which we had no knowledge, and were not equipped to navigate. 

Our caseworker at INQUEST was incredibly kind and supportive, she ensured that the inquest was delayed so that the facts of what happened would be properly investigated, and she found lawyers who worked incredibly hard on our behalf.

I will always be grateful that INQUEST was there to provide us with support at the very worst of times. Getting to know the wonderful staff and some of the other families affected by state related death, has been the only positive in this dreadful experience. I want to give something back in any way I can, to support others and to campaign for change so that there are fewer preventable deaths, and this cycle of misery is broken."


Donna Mooney

Donna’s brother Tommy Nicol took his own life in prison in 2015, six years into an indeterminate IPP sentence.  

Indeterminate sentences were abolished in 2012 but not retrospectively. The detrimental harms of these sentences are well known and there was an abhorrent lack of care concerning Tommy’s deteriorating mental health due to the IPP sentence. He was left alone and distressed in an unfurnished cell, already two years over his sentence.

At the inquest a forensic psychiatrist said he was almost certain that the IPP sentence more than minimally contributed to Tommy's death.


Emma Halliday

Emma has been working with INQUEST since the death of her brother Matthew in 2018 who died a wholly preventable death at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield following a short and acute period of mental ill health.

Following his death, Emma accessed advice from INQUEST to navigate the complex and disorientating process of post death investigation.

She is now part of  INQUEST’s Family Reference Group where bereaved families come together to support each other, campaign for the rights of bereaved people and attempt to ensure that inquests and other post death investigations lead to meaningful change.

Emma is also a PhD student at the University of Lancaster. Her research focuses on how coroners communicate their concerns in Prevention of Future Deaths Reports and the current efficacy of these reports in reducing avoidable harm and death.