19 January 2018

Before HM Senior Coroner for Suffolk Dr Peter Dean
Sitting at The Coroner’s Court, Beacon House,
Whitehouse Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 5PB

Opens 22 January 2018 at 10.00 am - expected to run for 2-3 weeks

Richard Handley had Down’s Syndrome and a history of mental ill health. In November 2012 he died aged 33 in Ipswich Hospital from complications arising from constipation. The inquest into his death opens on Monday 22 January.

Richard Handley was initially admitted to Walker Close mental health unit as a voluntary patient but was transferred to Ipswich Hospital due to significant concerns about his physical health. He died from aspiration of gastric contents, large bowel obstruction and faecal impaction. Richard had lifelong problems with constipation which were exacerbated by communication difficulties and medication.

His family have waited over 5 years for his inquest, and are hoping to fully understand what happened to Richard in hospital and how he came to die from constipation, a condition which he should have been supported with and closely monitored. They describe him as someone who would ‘have a go’ at most things.  Growing up with his two sisters, he endeared himself to many with his engaging, friendly and mischievous personality.

An inquiry into the premature deaths of people with learning disabilities found that 42% of deaths of learning disabled people were considered to be premature, and over a quarter were amenable to better-quality healthcare.



For further information, please contact Lucy McKay here

INQUEST has been working with the family of Richard Handley since his death. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Nina Ali from Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors and Dominic Ruck-Keene from 1 Crown Office Row.

The report of the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities is available here.