Police continue probe into Horsham care home deaths ... four years on

A police investigation launched after the deaths of 13 people at nine care homes in and around Horsham is continuing - four years after it first started,

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 5:06 pm

But Sussex Police say they are now focusing on the deaths of four care home residents because of ‘insufficient evidence of criminal offences’ in the other nine cases.

All the care homes are run by the same company - Sussex Health Care - which announced last week that it was closing four of its homes in Horsham, along with one in East Grinstead and one in Uckfield.

A police spokesman said: “The investigation into Sussex Health Care continues. This police-led investigation, supported by safeguarding partner agencies, commenced as a result of safeguarding concerns raised by West Sussex County Council for a number of patients at nine Sussex Health Care premises.

Sussex Health Care, the site of Orchard Lodge, Nr Warnham
Sussex Health Care, the site of Orchard Lodge, Nr Warnham

“Sussex Police was originally alerted as a result of safeguarding alerts relating to 43 residents, of whom 13 had died.

“The investigation focuses on possible offences of wilful neglect, failing to discharge general health and safety duties at work, manslaughter by gross negligence, and corporate manslaughter; whether by the actions of individual staff or due to corporate failings by Sussex Health Care.

“We have interviewed 28 people under caution in connection with the investigation.

“The enquiry is now focused on four deceased residents rather than 13. After thorough investigation it was determined that there is insufficient evidence to show that criminal offences had taken place in respect of the other cases, and their families have been informed.

“However the evidence obtained in those cases will still be considered as part of our ongoing investigation

“We continue to keep families involved updated as the investigation progresses.

“We are in consultation with the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) but no decisions have yet been taken on prosecution.”

A spokeswoman for Sussex Health Care, after announcing the closure of six of its homes last week, said: “As an experienced care provider, Sussex Health Care has been fully committed to providing the best care possible for those we support, but we have been unable to move our complex Profound and Multiple Learning Disability services forward to a position where we provide consistent, high-quality care.

“The decision to close the services has been an incredibly difficult one. Many of the people we support have been with us for a very long time and the impact on them and their families has been our highest concern throughout.”