Belfast Telegraph

Heartache of grieving Seanpaul Carnahan's mum claims no one has been interviewed over son's death in Belfast City Hospital

By Angela Rainey

A grieving mother says she's heartbroken after hearing police haven't interviewed a single person over her son's tragic death nearly three years ago.

Tracy Carnahan's son Seanpaul (22), was admitted to Belfast City Hospital in March 2013 with a brain injury sustained from a failed suicide attempt.

He had been a regular user of legal highs and was left brain-damaged by the suicide attempt.

On his admission, the 6ft 2in chef from Beechmount weighed 12 stones, but on his death five months later in July, he weighed just five stones.

So far no inquest has been held and the mother of five is accusing the police of dragging their heels and not formally interviewing medical staff involved in his care.

Mrs Carnahan, who is a widow, says the stress of not having closure is breaking her heart and she has submitted a formal complaint to the Police Ombudsman.

"It's unreal to think the police have dragged this out for three years and there's still no inquest or answers into who is responsible for my son's death.

"It's heartbreaking. It's been going on so long that it's stressing out me and my kids, it has completely ruined our lives.

"I've lost my son and now I've had to fight for three years to get answers about his death, it's heartbreaking.

"I've still not received a death certificate, I can't until there's an inquest, but there can't be an inquest until the police finish their investigations.

"People witnessed the condition that Seanpaul was left in, it was terrible - he was so thin. "In his coffin he looked a hundred years old, he looked that bad that some of his friends and workmates were too frightened to see him like that and stayed away. We've been through all that and now having to fight for the simplest of things like the police to conduct inquiries. It seems for every 10 steps forward you get knocked back 100 times."

Since Seanpaul's death, Belfast Trust has put in place nine recommendations but no date has been set for an inquest.

Official medical notes obtained by the family from the Belfast Trust, and seen by the Belfast Telegraph, show that during Seanpaul's five month hospital stay he was given one day's feed in two weeks.

The lack of nutrition caused a serious condition known as "re-feeding syndrome" and in the last nine weeks of his life he died an agonising death from starvation as his body attacked itself for food.

"The police should have done more. I've done everything that's been asked of me to help get answers, but I'm no further forward," said a tearful Mrs Carnahan.

"I used to be able to ring the police to check on any progress and now they've told me not to ring because I filed a complaint.

"I told them that I won't be taken for a fool, I won't let it go, I have to go on for Seanpaul's sake and for the sake of anyone else that could end up the same way. He should never have died."

Mrs Carnahan is due to attend another inquest preliminary hearing on March 16. Earlier this year she set up a petition on change.org which has so far gained over 3,000 signatures, asking for justice for her son's death.

Friends and family of Mrs Carnahan say they are going to take the petition to the streets and shopping centres to get as many signatures as possible before presenting it to First Minster Arlene Foster.

A spokesperson from the office of the Police Ombudsman said: "I can confirm that we received a complaint and are now investigating."

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