Inquest into the death of Colette McCulloch to begin on 6 March
The inquest into the death of 35-year-old Colette McCulloch will be held at Bedfordshire Coroner's Court from Wednesday 6th March 2019.
Posted on 04 March 2019
Colette, who had been diagnosed as high functioning on the autistic spectrum, died at 3am on 28 July 2016 after being hit by a lorry on the A1. At the time of her death she was under the care of Pathway House, a residential care home, part of the privately-run Milton Park Therapeutic Campus, near Bedford.
Colette was not diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum until May 2014. She had previously struggled with her mental health and had suffered from anxiety, OCD and anorexia.
Colette was admitted initially as a voluntary patient to a locked ward on the Milton Park Campus, before being moved to Pathway House in February 2015. She was placed here, out of her local area, by Sussex Partnership NHS Trust.
During her time at Pathway House she was allowed overnight leave on many occasions, despite becoming distraught and disorientated after leaving the facility and having to be brought back to Pathway House on several occasions by the police and members of the public.
Repeated requests for an assessment under the Mental Health Act were rejected by the local Approved Mental Health Service, run jointly by Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and East London NHS Foundation Trust.
The original coroner for the inquest into Colette’s death indicated that he was only prepared to investigate her death as a road traffic accident. Colette’s parents have had to fight to have the scope of her inquest widened so that the care that she received at Pathway House can be examined as part of her inquest. Following their legal challenge, the original coroner overseeing the inquest recused himself and a new coroner was appointed.
The new coroner Martin Oldham, current assistant coroner in Bedfordshire, has instructed two independent experts to consider the care and treatment Colette received.
The inquest will be held on 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 20 and 21 March 2019 at The Court House Woburn Street Ampthill Bedfordshire MK45 2HX.
The legal team for the family is Merry Varney from Leigh Day and Sam Jacobs from Doughty Street Chambers.