Media Media releases Charity and care home manager to be sentenced in CQC prosecution following death of Sophie Bennett 2 March 2021 Uxbridge Magistrates Court, Friday 5 March 2021, 10amJournalists must apply to attend remotely, details in notes Richmond Psychosocial Foundation International (RPFI), and manager Peggy Jhugroo, who led the care home in which teenager Sophie Bennett died, will be sentenced on Friday 5 March 2021 at 10am after both parties entered guilty pleas. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) reached the decision to prosecute the charity and manager of the home on 1 May 2019. This followed the inquest into the death of Sophie Bennett, which concluded with the jury finding that “neglect” contributed to her death. Sophie died on 4 May 2016. She was 19 years old and she had been cared for at Lancaster Lodge, a therapeutic community run by RPFI since April 2015. The CQC brought the prosecution against RPFI over an alleged failure to provide safe care and treatment, resulting in Sophie being exposed to the significant risk of avoidable harm, under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. By law, registered providers of health and social care services must take all reasonable steps and exercise due diligence to ensure patients receive safe care and treatment. Peggy Jhugroo, who was involved in Sophie’s care and leading the care home at the time of Sophie’s death has also been prosecuted under the Act. ENDS NOTES TO EDITORS For further information please contact INQUEST Communications Team on 020 7263 1111 or contact Lucy McKay on [email protected]. INQUEST will issue a press release once the sentence is handed down, however the family will not be making any statements directly. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Rachel Harger of Bindmans LLP and Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Sam Jacobs of Doughty Street Chambers. Sophie is survived by her parents Ben and Nicki, and her siblings Natasha, Thomas and Jack. In order to attend the sentencing hearing on 5 March 2021 remotely, journalists will need to make an application to the Court by emailing: [email protected] Please set out in the subject header ‘Member of Press – CQC Prosecution of Peggy Jhugroo and RPFI’ and include in the email the request to attend, with the attendee’s contact details (phone number and email). Attendees will be notified of the details to access the remote hearing on the day of the hearing. Background 4 May 2016: Sophie died having applied a ligature on 2 May 2016 whilst in the care of Lancaster Lodge, a therapeutic community run by RPFI. 7 February 2019: An inquest jury found that “neglect” contributed to Sophie’s self-inflicted death. 5 April 2019: The Charity Commission opened a statutory inquiryinto RPFI. This inquiry is ongoing, but the family have not received any updates on progress. 1 May 2019: After a hearing in West London Coroner’s court, HM Assistant Coroner John Taylor ruled that a fine of £650 should be imposed against Duncan Lawrence (the maximum coronial fine being £1,000) for failing to attend and disclose crucial evidence at the inquest into Sophie’s death. Lawrence also failed to attend this hearing. Care Quality Commission announced their decision to prosecute charity Richmond Psychosocial International Foundation (RPFI) as well as Peggy Jhugroo, the manager of Lancaster Lodge. 14 June 2019: First hearing of CQC prosecution of charity and manager of Lancaster Lodge following death of Sophie Bennett. 16 August 2019: The first hearing of the criminal trial of Duncan Lawrence, on failing to give evidence to the inquest, took place after the Coroner referred the matter to the police and Crown Prosecution Service. 30 October 2019: Duncan Lawrence was sentenced to four months in custody for failing to give evidence to the inquest. Lancaster House: Sophie told her family the new regime was like a ‘boot camp’. After protests from residents and staff, therapies were continued but the standard of care at the home fell to the extent that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) assessed the service as ‘inadequate’ in March 2016. However, the home remained open until after Sophie’s death.