6 December 2019

Before HM Area Coroner Christopher Morris
Stockport Coroner’s Court, Mount Tabor, Stockport, SK1 3PA

9  December 2019, expected to last 2 weeks

Ryan Mason, 30, was born with a rare genetic disorder, Johanson Blizzard syndrome and was diagnosed with learning disabilities, epilepsy, Type I Diabetes and was partially sighted. On 26 February 2017, Ryan was found collapsed in his apartment, where he received care and support services from staff employed by Imagine, Act and Succeed (IAS). The inquest into his death opens on Monday 9 December.

Ryan was from Trafford, Manchester and lived with his parents until he was 25 years old. Ryan’s parents describe him as a loving boy with a great sense of humour. He enjoyed rock music, supported Manchester United and had a keen interest in falconry.

Imagine, Act and Succeed (IAS) were his care providers for nearly four years. His managers and some members of his support team had worked with him over that whole period. A collective decision had been made for Ryan to live as independently as possible and in March 2016, in partnership with Trafford Housing Trust and Trafford Council, arrangements were put in place for him to live in his own apartment with input from support workers.

Ryan was unable to leave his flat without staff support due to his needs. On 4 October 2016, Ryan suffered his first 'tonic clonic' seizure with seizures increasing in the months that followed. Ryan’s risk of having an epileptic seizure was monitored by a series of equipment and technology including various sensors, a camera in the flat with a relay to IAS support workers, and an epilepsy watch designed to alert support workers to seizure activity.

The inquest will hear evidence on the following issues;

  • Relevant background information about Ryan’s health and the care and support required, with particular reference to management of epilepsy and seizure control;
  • Events from Autumn 2016 onwards, particularly from the perspective of whether or not there was any change to the nature or extent of Ryan’s epilepsy;
  • The role of the epilepsy “Smartwatch” provided to Ryan and its intended role in maintaining his safety, together with any guidance support staff were given for its maintenance and use.

Ryan’s parents said: “We have a number of concerns surrounding the death of our son and in particular, the care and management he received by those responsible for his well-being and safety. We hope that the inquest will answer the many questions that we have surrounding his tragic death. Words cannot begin to describe the loss we feel and how much we miss our son each and every day.”

Kelly Darlington, Solicitor for the family said: “Ryan was a vulnerable young man, who died whilst living in supported accommodation. It was plainly clear to professionals supporting him that there was a risk to his life from the conditions he was known to have. Ryan’s death raises a number of important issues that his parents hope will be fully explored through the inquest process to ensure that lessons are learned.”

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said: "Premature and unexpected deaths of people with learning disabilities must be afforded effective scrutiny. It is significant that this inquest will be Article 2 compliant, enabling a wider scope to thoroughly explore the level and effectiveness of care provided to Ryan. We hope that any systemic failings are uncovered in the hope of protecting lives in the future.”

To note your interest or to request photos of Ryan, contact the INQUEST Communications Team on 020 7263 1111 or Lucy McKay and Sarah Uncles on [email protected] and [email protected].

The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Kelly Darlington of Farleys Solicitors LLP and Simon Murray of St John’s Buildings.

The other Interested Persons represented at the inquest are:

  • Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Trafford Housing Trust
  • Imagine, Act and Succeed (IAS)
  • Salford NHS Foundation Trust
  • A GP at Urmston Group Practice

Other relevant cases:

Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, died in July 2013 when he drowned in the bath as a result of an epileptic seizure whilst in a unit run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. The jury concluded that his death was contributed to by neglect. An independent investigation found Connor’s death was preventable and there were significant failings in epilepsy management and clinical leadership. Media Release, October 2015.

Danny Tozer, 36, died from epilepsy in September 2015 when he was in supported living accommodation. The coroner found that there was insufficient communication between Danny’s family, care providers Mencap and City of York Council who commissioned the care. Media Release, April 2018.