Amy El-Keria (pictured) died in The Priory’s care after telling a member of staff she wanted to kill herself
Private mental healthcare group The Priory has been fined £300,000 for breaching health and safety law after a 14-year-old girl died in its care.
The firm admitted breaching health and safety law following a criminal investigation into the death of Amy El-Keria in November 2012.
The teenager, who had a history of suicide attempts, had been sent to the group’s Ticehurst House psychiatric hospital in East Sussex less than three months before.
A sentencing hearing took place at Lewes Crown Court before Mr Justice James Dingemans today.
The Priory Group admitted a charge of being an employer failing to discharge its duty to ensure people were not exposed to health and safety risks.
At an earlier hearing, the court heard Amy was admitted to the hospital’s High Dependency Unit on August 23 2012.
On November 12, at 8.15pm, she was found hanging in her bedroom and taken to Conquest Hospital in Hastings, where she died the following day after life support was withdrawn.
Prosecutor Sarah Le Fevre told the court hospital staff were not adequately trained in identifying, assessing and responding to ligature risks.
She said a ligature audit of Amy’s room, carried out a few days before her death by an untrained member of staff, identified some medium risks which were not followed up.
Speaking after The Priory admitted to breaching health and safety laws, Tania El-Keria, Amy’s mother, accused them of putting profit before patients
The court also heard that a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection of the hospital in November 2011 identified ligature risk concerns, which staff had failed to remedy by the time of another inspection in June 2012.
Ms Le Fevre also claimed the hospital was aware of products available that could have been installed to make rooms safer.
At a hearing earlier this week, the court heard the Priory Group had offered ‘their sincere apologies to Amy’s family for the failings that this case has underlined’.
Her mother, Tania El-Keria, told the same hearing that she feels as though her ‘heart and soul is ripped out’ every day as she mourns the death of her ‘spirited’ daughter.
Ms El-Keria said she hoped for ‘justice for Amy’ and that she could grieve when the case was finished.
‘I hope that the knowledge gained from this case goes on to change what I see as a failing system and prevents future avoidable deaths,’ she added.
Bosses from the Priory Hospital (pictured, above) admitted breaching health and safety laws at Brighton Magistrates today. The case was sent to crown court today as the magistrates court does not have the power to sentence for the offence