- Benjamin Aninakwa, 52, accused of manslaughter of mental health patient
- North East London NHS Foundation Trust charged with corporate manslaughter
- For confidential support call Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org
An NHS ward manager has appeared at the Old Bailey accused of the manslaughter of a 22-year-old patient by gross negligence after he failed to remove the bin bags she used to kill herself at a mental health hospital.
The bin bags had been used on 18 previous occasions by patients attempting suicide, the court heard.
In September, Benjamin Aninakwa, 52, was charged with manslaughter by gross negligence and failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of patients on Hepworth Ward.
The first charge against him alleges that he failed to take reasonable steps to remove a ‘means of suicide’ or provide an ‘adequate level of care and supervision’ for Ms Figueiredo.
Aninakwa, of Grays, Essex, was ward manager of an acute psychiatric ward at Goodmayes Hospital at the time of the alleged offences.
North East London NHS Foundation Trust was charged with corporate manslaughter and an offence under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act of failing to ensure the safety of non-employees.
The trust is also accused of ‘failing to remove bin liners’ after they had been used for attempted suicide on 18 occasions ‘which were recorded on hospital ward notes and in other hospital records and discussed regularly at relevant hospital meetings’.
The charge states the senior management was a ‘substantial element’ of the failure.
The Metropolitan Police investigated Alice’s death for six years before passing a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 2021.
The CPS considered the evidence for a further two years before authorising charges.
NELFT is just the second ever NHS Trust believed to have been charged with corporate manslaughter, after Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust was charged over the death of a woman who underwent an emergency Caesarean in 2015.
Aninakwa, who no longer works at Goodmayes Hospital, and representatives of the trust appeared at the Old Bailey today for a hearing before Judge Rebecca Trowler KC.
The defendants were not asked to enter pleas to the charges and the judge set an eight-week trial from October 28 next year before Judge Richard Marks at the Old Bailey.
A plea and case management hearing will take place on May 24 next year.
Aninakwa was granted continued conditional bail ahead of the next hearing in the case.
For confidential support call Samaritans on 116123 or visit www.samaritans.org