I am a language enthusiast mainly blogging about my experiences of learning Mandarin Chinese. Previously a journalist, I have written about social issues for the Guardian, the Independent, New Internationalist, Huffington Post, Equal Times and the Big Issue in the North, among other titles.
High court to grant landmark inquest into nurse death mystery
(Originally published by the Big Issue in the North)
The family of a 41-year-old nurse from Stockport who died in
2005 are to be granted a fresh inquest following their investigation into the strange
circumstances surrounding her death and relationship with the former head of
ethics of the British Medical Association (BMA).
Carole Myers was found dead in 2005
After an original inquest into the death of Carole Myers
returned an open verdict, the Felstead family obtained her psychiatric and
medical records which revealed she had undergone “recovered memory” therapy
sessions on the NHS from the age of 21.
During these sessions she was given psychotropic drugs and was
encouraged to believe she had been abused by her parents who she alleged were
serial murderers and members of a satanic cult.
Her new memories also included claims that she had been
abused by two members of the Tory cabinet at the Conservative party
Although these allegations were later shown to be false, their
accuracy was never questioned by therapists. Ms Myers was diagnosed as a victim
of satanic abuse and received intense psychiatric and medical treatment over a
period of 20 years prior to her death.
The Family’s application for a new inquest centres on
revelations about Carol’s relationship with Dr Fleur Fisher, the former head of
ethics at the BMA. Records show that in 1986 Ms Myers attended “psychosexual counselling” sessions with Dr Fisher who
continued to play an active role in her psychiatric treatment throughout her
Evidence has also come to light causing concern over Dr
Fisher’s behaviour after Ms Myers’ death.
On 29th June 2005 the Metropolitan police
received an emergency call from Dr Fisher who was travelling on a train approximately
200 miles from Ms Myers’ flat. Dr Fisher told police that she believed the
nurse may have taken a drug overdose.
Although she was not named in Ms Myers’ will and had no
power of attorney to represent her, Dr Fisher subsequently claimed to be her
“next of kin” and attempted to arrange her cremation. The funeral arrangements
were only cancelled after Ms Myers’ family were contacted by the Coroners’
office a day before it was due to take place.
Dr Fisher disposed of all Ms Myers’ possessions in her
London flat and insured herself on her car. In an audio recording recovered
from an insurance company she can be heard taking out a policy and claiming Ms
Myers was her “unofficial daughter.”
None of this evidence was included at the original inquest
and Dr Fisher was never called to testify.
In March the Felstead family were given rare permission by
the Solicitor General to apply to the high Court to seek a new inquest. Following the decision a coroner in
Westminster agreed to hold a fresh inquest.
The case has now been placed on the Warned List at the High Court where judges are expected to set a date for a fresh inquest which will be held in London.
Ms Myers' family believe a new inquest will provide them with answers to questions they have long been seeking.
Ms Myers’ brother Kevin Felstead, who co-authored a
self-published a book on the case titled ‘Justice for Carol: The True Story of
Carol Felstead’ said:
“First and foremost we want Dr Fisher to appear at the
inquest like she should have at the original one. What’s also got to happen at
this inquest is the whole sorry tale of Carol’s treatment needs to be exposed.
She had two decades of psychiatric treatment to recover memories of things that
never happened. It all needs to come out.”
Ms Myers' father Joseph Felstead said:
“I don’t know whether
we can get full justice for Carol. We can’t undo the past – all the psychiatric
treatment can’t be undone.”
“We want a truthful, factual narrative as to how Carol died.
The last inquest certainly didn’t provide it…We’re hopeful that the new inquest
will tell us things that we didn’t know before.”