The settlement

Yesterday was mediation day. As part of an action against Sloven about LB’s right to life being breached under the Human Rights Act*. The date was agreed a while back and papers were to be submitted to the mediator seven days before. Sloven submitted nothing. We got more tense the closer it got and by Tuesday night, Rich and I were pretty much in pieces, firing off random, belligerent emails to our (wonderfully calm) solicitor and pacing round the house. Necking wine.

I can barely remember the journey to London first thing in the morning. My rage at what happened to LB, what we’d been put through by Sloven and dread of the day ahead consumed me. Rich listened to music.


The meeting was held in Doughty Street Chambers and there were three rooms. One for us and our legal team, one for the mediator and one for Sloven and their group (of several people). For the rest of the day, we sat in a big, very warm meeting room with a view, tea, coffee, water and wifi. The mediator came in and out. Our legal team went out and came back in. The sun went in and we waited.


At 2.30pm, the Sloven debate started at Westminster Hall. We watched parts of it in between discussions. I half watched the rest of it with the sound off. Following the tweets and texts from a mate. Sloven were getting a deservedly intense and critical panning. On the floor below and over to the left of us, their Chief Operating Officer, another staff member, their solicitors, a partner from their solicitors firm, a barrister, and a NHS Litigation Authority bod sat.


Mid afternoon there was an enormous downpour. A get people off the streets type downpour. No umbrella could withstand the ferocity and that amount of rain. The atmosphere in the room pretty tense as deliberating and discussion continued. Andrew Smith, MP, was clearly articulating the depth of Sloven failings on the muted screen.


Eventually, agreement was reached. Seven hours after arriving we left the chambers and went for a drink in the pub across the road. In sunshine. It was hard to make any sense of what was agreed. A good outcome apparently. I just felt deeply sad and a bit odd.


There are two parts to the settlement.

I’ve woken up feeling as sad and odd as I felt yesterday (with a layer of new exhaustion). The statement is very clear and, given everything that’s happened [he died...] is a form of ‘vindication’, if that’s the right word, without meaningless apology. The money? It was never about money. We’ll talk about that when the kids are all here together in July.

One of our lovely nieces, Clare, messaged earlier asking ‘What does it mean for the campaign?’

Nothing really. This human rights part was never part of the Connor Manifesto so it’s business as usual. Just one horrible, ‘gruesome’ as someone put it yesterday, process done. None of this should have happened.

*We had to make sure the judge could not look back, if the ‘case’ reached court, and say we had turned down any reasonable ‘offer’. If s/he thought we had, we ran the risk of having to pay Sloven’s costs and (I think) being fined.

9 thoughts on “The settlement

  1. Oh Sarah Once again the wheels grind – the grinding is so painful for you all, and it is so slow, so appallingly slow. Your account so beautifully written also shouts about the ugliness of the circumstances, Sloven’s sustained unimpeachable position protecting themselves with public money, and continuing to harm people in their care.

    The campaign goes on – I am glad for you that this bit is over. Jane

    Jane Heyes Now retired Principal Lecturer School of Social Work UCLAN


  2. Round and round it goes….to you, to me and back to you! Its so bloody painful. When will we just find some accountability! A man (NO men and women ) have lost lives and it seems all we can do is try to reveal it!Regulators need to regulate Politicians need to represent US (not get too hung up on tribal loyalty) and so called care staff need to CARE (& many do I know) BUt when we reveal bad apples we EXPECT action. Plain and Simple. He who pays the piper calls the tune… thats US isn’t it!

  3. Well done for articulating what it’s like waiting…living with this…being put through this…being suffocated by the pain, the injustice, the lack of humanity in any of it…the bit about the emails, the pacing, the wine…the rage – yes Sara. Yes.

    So much love to you, Rich and your family…and to Connor.

    Few will ‘get’ the fact the money is actually an insult – to place a value on a lost life – for that’s what it is from their point of view. Even if it was a billion it’s an insult somehow. But it’s part of the process – and all the media ever want to report…don’t know why.

    Deep breath. 1 more bloody awful experience chalked up. Remember your choices Sara – S, FS and CFS…you know what I mean xxx

  4. shoddy of the Trust to publish the statement by way of, now you see it now you don’t. Respectful compliance with the agreed settlement surely for Connor and his family, and equally for each and every subsequent independent investigation if and when a statement is required.

    • “Our care at STATT was poor, soz”
      (no higher management or wider systematic failures – just those pesky non Hampshire LD services again)

      “It was neglect*”
      (*we want to point out that’s coroner-definition neglect, not what we would call proper neglect, obviously)

  5. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if Southern Health were waiting for a congratulatory pat on the back and a round of applause.

  6. Pingback: Leadership and contact traces… | mydaftlife

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