The mother of Sarah Lawson, the severely depressed 22-year-old
killed by her father, claimed her daughter was ‘absolutely
let down’ by the social services as well as the health
service, writes Gideon Burrows.
Karen Lawson said her daughter had seen a number of
social workers, but the only one who helped then moved on.
“[Sarah] had one in particular she got on well with and looked
forward to visiting and was benefiting, but she got promoted,” said
Lawson. “Sarah couldn’t relate to the replacement and she
ended up seeing no one.”
“I would assume there would have been a second choice if you
don’t relate to Miss x or y, but it was like: ‘you
don’t find this helpful, so let’s leave it at that,’”
Lawson was speaking as it emerged that Worthing Priority Care
NHS Trust carried out an internal investigation into the affair
last May, but had not informed the family it was taking place or of
its results. Lawson said she was disappointed ‘they
didn’t have the courtesy’ to tell her about it.
A spokesperson for the trust said: “An internal inquiry was
conducted last year into the days proceeding the death of Sarah
Lawson, and the decisions made regarding her discharge. We were
satisfied that staff acted in accordance with our policies.”
He added that measures on drug and alcohol used in Homefield
psychiatric hospital were in line with NHS policy both locally and
Sarah had a history of severe depression and failed suicide
attempts, but was sent home from Homefield after allegedly passing
cannabis to another patient. Earlier this month her father James
pleaded guilty to manslaughter after he helped her do die by
suffocation, and is awaiting sentence.
West Sussex health authority is launching an independent public
inquiry, to which the Lawson family will be invited to
A spokesperson for West Sussex Council said social services
would be playing a part in the review because the department was
involved with the family before Sarah’s death.