Care home resident ‘unlawfully killed’ after choking on burger, inquest finds

Max StephensSun, 28 March 2021, 6:29 pm

Tony Wilkinson  - PA
Tony Wilkinson – PA

A care home resident was “unlawfully killed” after choking on a burger in a pub, an inquest has found.

Tony Wilkinson, from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, suffered from a genetic condition known as Fragile X syndrome, which causes learning challenges and intellectual disability.

A support worker from Stars Social Support Limited had brought the 57-year-old to a pub in Manchester Airport in April 2018.

Despite warnings from his family that he could only eat mashed food, Mr Wilkinson was given a burger.

A jury at Sheffield Coroner’s Court returned a verdict this week that Mr Wilkinson was unlawfully killed.

His family accused the company of failing Tony, commenting:“We wouldn’t trust them to look after a goldfish now.”

Mr Wilkinson’s family said he was only supposed to be given mashed food and thickened drinks, but they said he was also taken for fish, chips and mushy peas in Cleethorpes a week before his death and support workers often provided him with unsuitable meals.

Mr Wilkinson had been given 24-hour care and supervision by Stars staff, following a separate choking incident in February 2018 year.

Prior to that he had been supported at a day care centre with staff visiting his shared accommodation.

Mr Wilkinson’s sisters, June Mcdonald and Linda Swallow said in a statement: “We wouldn’t trust them to look after a goldfish now.

“The untimely death of our brother was preventable and avoidable, and a jury has now found it to have been unlawful.

“Hopefully lessons are learned from all involved.”

The family’s solicitor said Stars Social Support must now provide the coroner with details of measures being taken to address the concerns raised.

The company, which declined to comment, is currently under review by the Care Quality Commission.

Wendy Lowder, of Barnsley Council, said its thoughts were with Mr Wilkinson’s family.

“Stars Social Support is a non-contracted provider, meaning they’re not contracted as part of the council’s framework agreement,” she said.

“However, we have actively reviewed Stars’ provision in the borough and have contacted all existing service users who are supported by Stars and will support any individual who wishes to change their care provider.”

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