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NHS mental health trust to face manslaughter trial for death of young woman

North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) and former Goodmayes Hospital ward manager Benjamin Aninakwa will face a criminal trial next October, reports Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

Credit: Tupungato / Getty Images via Canva Pro

An NHS trust and former ward manager will face a trial next year over allegations of manslaughter due to the death of a young woman in a mental health ward eight years ago.

Alice Figueiredo, 22, died on 7th July 2015 while an in-patient of an acute psychiatric ward at Goodmayes Hospital, in East London.

Both North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) and its former ward manager Benjamin Aninakwa, 52, are accused of manslaughter for failing to protect her while she was at risk of self-harm.

The trust allegedly failed to remove an item that had been flagged as a risk to Alice on “18 occasions”.

NELFT, which is accused of gross negligence manslaughter and an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act, provides mental health and community healthcare to residents of Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham and Havering, as well as some health services in Kent and Essex.

Aninakwa, a ward manager at the time, is accused of gross negligence manslaughter for “taking no sufficient steps” to remove items that were a risk or ensuring an “adequate level of care and supervision”.


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He is a registered nurse and remains an employee of NELFT, where he heads its patient safety and investigation team.

Benjamin Aninakwa at the Old Bailey today (1st November), Credit: LDRS

At a pretrial hearing today (1st November) at the Old Bailey, Aninakwa and NELFT’s chief executive officer Paul Calaminus appeared in court but neither entered pleas to the charges.

An eight-week trial before Judge Richard Marks, the Common Serjeant of London, has been set for 28th October next year.

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 last month.

NELFT, which faces charges of corporate manslaughter or an offence under Section three of the Health and Safety at Work Act, covering an employer’s duty to protect people from risk, has not entered a plea.

Aninakwa, of Chadwell St Mary, previously indicated not guilty pleas to gross negligence manslaughter and an offence under section seven of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which covers an employee’s duty to protect people from risk.


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