Police rule no evidence to back claims of OAP’s hospital neglect

Julie Hurst
Julie Hurst

The family of a woman who died at a borough hospital have vowed to fight on after a police review found no evidence of criminal activity.


Julie Hurst said she was not satisfied with the finding of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) that her mum Betty Lythgoe was not unlawfully killed at Wigan Infirmary in March 2015.

Officers looked at documents relating to her care before deciding there was no evidence of medical neglect by staff at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust or that she was placed on an end-of-life care pathway.

Mrs Hurst labelled the review of circumstances leading up to the death of former Hindley resident Mrs Lythgoe a “total whitewash” and says she will take the matter further.

She is particularly unhappy that the police have only reviewed documents provided relating to Mrs Lythgoe’s care and did not interview or speak to individuals involved in her treatment.

She said: “They’ve not questioned any of them. They’ve done no investigation whatsoever and have just called it a review.

“It’s a total whitewash. They’re trying to say that my mum had the proper care but at 2.55pm on the Friday I still wasn’t sure whether my mother was dying or not. The best I got was that she was very poorly.

“I want a proper investigation with all the criminal evidence which we have given to them looked at. They breached duty of care because she was at risk not knowing the significance of refusing food and medication.

“The police have just believed what the hospital says and the report makes out it is whiter than white.”

Mrs Hurst says she has spoken to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) about how GMP has handled the review and also wants the charity Action against Medical

Accidents (AVMA) to approach WWL and request an independent investigation.

Mrs Lythgoe died in hospital on March 14 2015 and the primary cause of death was provided as pneumonia and flu.

The review noted some issues with care, saying the transfer care form needed reviewing as when she entered hospital from Rosebridge Court care home the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard (DoLS) did not go across with her.

It also suggested there were communication issues between staff and family members and it was possible Mrs Hurst and her husband were kept waiting before they saw Mrs Lythgoe on the day she died.

However, the review found there was no evidence to prove some of Mrs Hurst’s allegations, such as that water was not provided and food was not given correctly to her mother, and questioned claims that staff refused to speak to family members and that her nearest relatives were kept in the dark about her condition.

The review says there is no evidence of the hospital using the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway, which was discontinued in 2013, in Mrs Lythgoe’s case.

A legal analysis at the end of the review finds the circumstances of Mrs Lythgoe’s death do not warrant prosecutions for murder, gross negligence manslaughter or corporate manslaughter and also considered offences of wilful neglect and ill-treatment.

The police review acknowledges a severe lack of trust between the family and the authorities in the case, which has drawn a sharply-worded response from Mrs Hurst.

Summarising the case, the review states; “It is evident that the family hold a hypothesis that Mrs Lythgoe was unlawfully killed and they are unlikely to change their view.

“There is no evidence to support the criminal allegations made by the family and any theory held by the family in relation to this will undoubtedly continue to cause the family a great deal of emotion and concern.

“It is clear that Mrs Lythgoe was at the end of her life, she displayed symptoms that are displayed by people at the end of life stage and the doctors and other medical/care staff provided appropriate treatment.”

Mrs Hurst responded: “They’ve treated us like we’re the criminals and everything we say are lies.”

Greater Manchester Police confirmed the case has now been closed.