Growing up with his two sisters, Richard was always in the midst of whatever was happening and he would 'have a go' at most things. As a youngster, he endeared himself to many with his engaging, friendly and mischievous personality. So many happy memories of his childhood spring to mind – slides, swings, climbing frame, swimming, go-kart, farm visits, theme parks, playmobile and hanging out with family.
Richard had lifelong problems with constipation which were exacerbated by communication difficulties and medication. On 17 November 2012, he died a sudden and unexpected death.
He was just 33.
When Richard left home, assessment reports by professionals said very clearly that his constipation would always need close monitoring and support. Somehow, it seems, this knowledge was lost over the years and now Richard's family find themselves facing an inquest into his death.
The inquest is very important to Richard's family in helping them grieve, through fully understanding what happened to Richard and being reassured that learning and changes come from his death, wherever relevant.
Richard's inquest is also of wider relevance to the rest of society. It is almost beyond comprehension that someone can die from constipation in the UK in this century. We know that what happened to Richard is not a one off tragedy. The 1.14million learning disabled people in the UK die on average 24 years prematurely and their deaths are often ignored by society, the media and the NHS or social care.
For too long the lives, and deaths, of learning disabled people have taken place in the shadows.
- to enable people to follow what happens in court in real time
- to provide a record of what led to Richard's death, and
- to capture any learning or opportunities for improvements that are discussed.
As an independent freelancer I have no salary or income to cover costs associated with live tweeting inquests or court cases. This is where we're asking for your help.
You can help
There are some basic costs associated with live tweeting Richard's inquest. We need to raise at least £2000 to cover costs:
Travel: 3 return train trips x £130
Subsistence: 15 days x £15
Overnight accommodation: 15 nights x £95
If we raise more than required to cover costs, then I will take the equivalent of a Living Wage to cover my time: 3 weeks x 40 hours at £7.50 per hour
Please give whatever you can afford, every penny will help.
Update: Due to the generosity of one of Richard's family friends I have been offered accommodation and our costs have been reduced. Any spare funds raised will be used to fund my ongoing work to bring a focus on the premature deaths of learning disabled people. Thank you all for your support xx