30 July 2022

Before HM Assistant Coroner Karin Welsh
Teesside Magistrates Court
4 – 7 July 2022

Tina Robson was 35 years old when she was found dead in Bridge House Mission in Stockton on Tees on 26 July 2020. Despite her support needs, she had not been seen by staff for over five hours. The inquest into her death will examine the cause and circumstances. Her family hope it will highlight any ongoing issues and prevent future deaths.

The Dying Homeless Project found that there was a significant increase in deaths of homeless people in 2020 with 1,048 deaths, many of which took place in temporary or emergency accommodation. The number of deaths has continued to increase since.

Tina was considered a vulnerable adult and was subject to a safeguarding enquiry (under Section 42 of the Care Act 2014) and a Police Public Protection Order. The charity run housing at Bridge House Mission is funded by Stockton Borough Council as short-term accommodation for people in need of housing related support, primarily individuals with ‘complex needs’. Tina died just six days after arriving.

Tina was from Sunderland and lived in Stockton. Her family describe her as a clever, creative and artistic person, who was unique and stylish. Tina faced significant childhood trauma and struggled with mental ill health and associated drug and alcohol addictions since.

Tina’s mother Sue fought for years to find appropriate support. Tina’s much loved son, who was looked after by Sue, was 11 years old when she died.

The pandemic and associated restrictions had been particularly difficult for Tina. She was classed as clinically vulnerable due to physical health conditions and was unable to access the same level of in person support and connection with local services and family. This impacted her health.

Isolation also left her more vulnerable to exploitation and violence, with numerous incidents in the months leading to her death. An escalation to Safeguarding Adults and statutory homelessness services led to her placement at Bridge House Mission on 20 July 2020, which had felt like a positive step.

Numerous questions remain about the circumstances of Tina’s death, which it is hoped the inquest will fully establish. Despite Tina’s engagement with public services, the coroner refused to engage Article 2 of the Human Rights Act, which allows for a broader inquest. However, Tina’s family hope the inquest will still provide a rigorous inquiry into all the circumstances of her death.

Tina’s family have however been denied legal aid for the inquest and have had to crowdfund over £5,000 to ensure they can be properly represented, with more still to raise. The council who were responsible for Tina’s care are represented at public expense. INQUEST continues to campaign for an expansion of legal aid for inquests, to end this unfair and unjust situation.

Sue Robson, Tina’s mother, said: “We are determined to ensure a full and fearless inquest into Tina’s death. We need to fully understand the events that led up to her death and, hopefully, to ensure that other homeless women suffering life-long trauma and addiction are better treated, supported, and safeguarded.”

Jodie Anderson, Senior Caseworker at INQUEST, said: “Tina’s death is part of wider patterns of the deaths of women who have faced significant trauma, and of people facing homelessness. It is vital that the circumstances are fully examined to help end this cycle and prevent future deaths. This is in the public interest, yet her family have had to fundraise for legal support while those who were responsible for her care are represented at public expense.”

Jessica Turtle, cofounder and Director at Museum of Homelessness, said: “We are in the middle of a significant crisis; we have counted an 87% increase in deaths in our community since 2019. Each person, like Tina, leaves behind people who loved them fiercely. It’s a scandal that so many people in our community are dying in accommodation when they should be safer off the streets. The current system is failing vulnerable women and we are proud to support Sue’s fight to prevent further unnecessary deaths in Tina’s memory.”


For further information, interview requests and to note your interest, please contact Lucy McKay on [email protected]

Learn more and donate to the family’s CrowdJustice fundraising for legal support here. You can follow the family’s Facebook Campaign #TruthJusticeTina here and Twitter campaign here.

Tina’s family are represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Gemma Vine of Ison Harrison solicitors and Ciara Bartlam of Garden Court North Chambers. They are supported by INQUEST caseworker Jodie Anderson. Other Interested persons represented are Bridge House Mission and Stockton Borough Council.

Legal aid for inquests:
INQUEST, bereaved families and lawyers, are campaigning for automatic non means tested legal aid funding for bereaved families for specialist legal representation immediately following a state related death, to cover preparation and representation at the inquest and other legal processes. This should be funding equivalent to that enjoyed by state bodies/public authorities and corporate bodies represented. Learn more.

Dying Homeless:
The Museum of Homelessness runs the Dying Homeless Project which tracks and collates the deaths of people sleeping rough as well as those placed in emergency accommodation and other insecure settings. They also host the Dying Homeless memorial, detailing the people behind the statistics.