Ray Jones heads inquiry into care of murdered Cornish man

The murder of a man with learning disabilities in Cornwall by people who moved into his flat will be the subject of two independent-led inquiries.

Cornwall Council said this week that former British Association of Social Workers chair Ray Jones will lead an inquiry into the council’s involvement with Steven Hoskin, 39, following a campaign for a public inquiry by East Cornwall Mencap and the Cornish Guardian.

The council also said that the county’s adult protection committee would meet this week to examine candidates to become chair of a serious case review into Hoskin’s death.

The council said the committee would be looking for people independent of all the agencies involved with Hoskin in response to “concerns voiced in the media about the seeming independence of the review”, which is already under way.

Hoskin was murdered in St Austell in July last year by people who moved into his flat, having previously had contact with agencies including the council, the local NHS and housing association Ocean Housing. A 30-year-old man and 17-year-old woman were sentenced for his murder last month. Three other people were convicted of manslaughter and assault.

He was killed on the same day as the release of a report into the abuse of people with learning disabilities in Cornwall in NHS care settings. East Cornwall Mencap had blown the whistle on the case that sparked the Commission for Social Care Inspection and Healthcare Commission report.

East Cornwall Mencap chair Reg Broad has called for a public inquiry into the Hoskin case to “restore confidence” in services for vulnerable adults in the county, and met council chief executive Sheila Healy last Friday to discuss the issue.

Although Jones’s report will be confidential, the findings will be reported to a meeting of the council’s executive, which will be open to the press and public, at the end of October.

Related information:
Cornwall learning disabilities: has the tide turned?
Essential information on learning disabilities

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Caroline Lovell

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