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Forbury Gardens Terror Attack Inquests conclude – Jack Murphy represents Ambulance Service commended for its response

The Judge Coroner Sir Adrian Fulford, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, has delivered his findings and conclusions in the high-profile inquests into the terrorist attack of 20 June 2020 at Forbury Gardens, Reading, that tragically led to the deaths of three men. The inquests were heard at the Old Bailey over six weeks in January and February this year.

Jack Murphy represented South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (“SCAS”), which deployed multiple ambulance resources to the scene, and coordinated the wider emergency medical response (including the deployment of several specialist air ambulance assets). Several aspects of SCAS’s response was scrutinised in detail during the course of the evidence.

The Judge Coroner concluded that no aspect of the emergency medical response contributed to the deaths. Equally importantly, in giving his findings, the Judge Coroner:

  • Accepted the evidence of the independent pre-hospital emergency medicine expert, Professor Lyon, that the medical care provided was “entirely appropriate, in what was a difficult situation” – concluding that everything possible was done in the attempt to save life, and adding that “the speed at which the three men were treated, along with the diligence, perseverance and intelligence with characterised the sustained efforts expended on their behalf, merit particular attention.”
  • Described the on-scene ambulance commander’s assessment that adequate ambulance resources were available (and thus that a Major incident declaration was not needed) as well-founded, finding that there were “more than sufficient paramedics and ambulances at the scene”; and
  • In regards to Covid PPE, found that the approach taken “was understandable and sensible”, “formed part of the highly effective response by the medical services”, and complied with the applicable, mandated Covid PPE guidelines.

The Judge Coroner further determined that he did not need to make a Prevention of Future Death (or “PFD”) Report in regards to SCAS’s response to the attack. In contrast, several other state agencies are to receive PFD Reports.

Jack acted for SCAS from the outset of the inquest process, appearing at pre-inquest review hearings, successfully submitting that the independent pre-hospital emergency medicine expert (Professor Lyon) should be instructed, supporting key ambulance witnesses in the production of Prevention of Future Death evidence, and providing representation at the final inquest hearing itself.  He was instructed by Jennifer Saunders, SCAS’s Head of Legal Services.

Simon Antrobus KC,  Katie Sage and Annie Mackley represented Reading Borough Council during the inquests. Link to their article here.

Jack, Simon and Katie regularly act in complex inquests, across a range of sectors, and on behalf of both state agencies and private companies. If you would like further information about instructing Jack or any other member of Chambers, please contact Toby Sparrow.


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