A Smile, A Shrug, A Sob & A Security Alert
Here’s another funny thing.
A few days after the report into LB’s death was published which found that it was a “preventable death”, Southern Health shut down their Twitter account. No posts in. No posts out. The official announcement was that it was for “security measures” – someone had been attacking their account. A couple of days later, the whole thing was restored. It’s hard to believe a word of it. The timing was incredible, as it stopped people posting their responses to the report.
Three weeks before our HIgh Court hearing in 2011, I received a call from Steven’s social worker’s manager, needing to talk to me urgently. This was the story – the day before the phone call, a person had called at the reception desk in the Civic Centre and left a letter for the social worker. He showed me the letter – it was pretty vile. It didn’t actually make any outright threats towards the social worker but it was very unpleasant. The letter was signed by “A friend of the Neary family”. The manager told me that the matter had been reported to the police and the social worker had gone off sick, in a distressed state.
I immediately offered my help. I offered to meet with the police. It never happened. I offered to view the CCTV footage in case I recognised the person delivering the letter. I was told that wouldn’t be necessary.
After that initial meeting, I never heard another word about the letter. I couldn’t stop talking about it. If a friend of the family was really threatening the social worker, would they sign the letter, friend of the family? Why didn’t the police take any action? The whole story seemed to have many many holes in it.
One outcome was that the social worker was signed off sick for four weeks and therefore wasn’t able to appear as their key witness at the hearing. As the central person in the case and the main decision maker of the events of 2010, the judge never got to hear her version of events.
The social worker’s manager mentioned the annonymous letter on the first day of the hearing but it didn’t go anywhere. Neither the judge or the barristers questioned him about it. He made a rather nervous statement and then the matter died.
Was it genuine? Was it constructed by the PR department to paint the social worker as the victim? Was it invented to get the social worker out of giving evidence (where let’s face it, she would have been crucified)? Who knows?
But I remembered it when the Southern Health security alert popped up. I guess it must be quite useful, when you know you are going to be revealed as the perpetrator of a dreadful act, to suddenly shift the emphasis, so you become the victim.
A remarkable double coincidence or a PR strategy?
From → Social Care