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Inquest disappoints family

Seren Bernard: Family “disappointed” at lack of depth to inquests scope
Seren Bernard: Family “disappointed” at lack of depth to inquests scope
Seren Bernard: Family
“disappointed” at lack of depth to
inquests scope

SWANSEA’S coroner has ruled that an inquest into a teenagers suicide whilst in local authority care, will only consider the last few months of her life. 14-year-old Seren Bernard took her own life in 2012 when she was living with Pembrokeshire County Council foster carers in Milford Haven. Sarah Pollock, Seren’s mother, has been fighting for Article 2 of the Human Rights Act and the care given to the teenager over a longer period, be included in the inquest.

However, Paul Bennett said at a pre-inquest hearing that the teenager’s mental state in the few months before her death will be considered in the inquest, leaving Ms Pollock “disappointed”. A serious case review was carried out, with a summary published in January 2014, and Ms Pollock has not been permitted to see the full report, with the pre-inquest hearing also showing that Mr Bennett had not seen the full report, but he did not deem it necessary.

Mr Bennett said the inquest was not examining “systemic failures” neither duplicating what was investigated by the serious case review. Mr Bennet said: “I did not identify systemic failure in terms of steps taken by various agencies.” 12 witnesses will be called to give evidence the pre-inquest hearing concluded, with the inquest likely to take five or six days in June 2015. Written statements by a number of witnesses will also be considered, however the coroner stated a jury would not be required.