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Inquest decides war hero did die of natural causes

AN INQUEST has decided that Shirley war hero Leslie Vines died of natural causes.

AN INQUEST has decided that Shirley war hero Leslie Vines died of natural causes.

During the two-week hearing, jurors heard the circumstances leading up to the 77-year-old’s death in September 2002.

The pensioner had died of bronchial pneumonia just 10 days after being admitted to the Maypole Nursing Home – where 27 residents had died within a year.

Jurors weighed up evidence from a catalogue of witnesses, including staff, and medical experts, before returning the verdict of natural causes last week.

Mr Vines’ daughter Hazel Bicknell, also from Shirley, had campaigned for seven-years for an investigation into her dad’s death.

Speaking after the verdict, Mrs Bicknell explained why she had battled so hard for an inquest.

“My mother, quite wrongly, blamed herself for Dad’s death. She felt it was all her fault for allowing him to be admitted to the Maypole,” she said.

“She never got over Dad’s death, and she died just months afterwards in March 2003. I’m convinced she died from a broken heart, and the grief of not knowing what happened to Dad.

“This fight has been about getting answers, so that I can finally lay to rest the memory of both my parents.”

Aidan Cotter, Birmingham and Solihull Coroner, had previously refused to conduct an inquest – but his decision was later overturned by the High Court.

The hearing, held at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, was told how Mr Vines had not been given the same dosage of medicine as administered at Heartlands Hospital.

He had also been wheeled around in a “bucket” chair to keep him sedate.

Mr Cotter had withdrawn natural causes by neglect as one of the verdicts open to the jury.

But he did say that the case highlighted the need for the NHS to introduce more rigorous inspections at care homes – akin to those in the prison service.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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