Clodagh Bradley QC, instructed by Mark Bowman of Fieldfisher, successfully resisted an application to strike out / summary judgment of a nervous shock claim on behalf of the secondary victim father of a 15 year old boy who had been negligently allowed to go on home leave from psychiatric inpatient care at The Priory, Southampton, when staff knew him to be ‘very suicidal’.

The boy stepped in front of a train by a railway bridge, near his father’s home. His father came upon the scene minutes later and saw the mangled body but did not initially know that it was his son.

Shortly after, the father received a phone call telling him that his son was ‘gone’ from home and he returned to the railway bridge. The body had been moved but he saw ‘blood and guts’ which he inferred (correctly) were his son’s. The father developed PTSD.

The Claimant argues that this was a single horrifying ‘event’ which unfolded over about 25 minutes and that all of the Alcock ‘control mechanisms’ are fulfilled, which the Defendants dispute. Master Roberts refused the Defendants’ application. The matter is listed for trial in the RCJ in May 2017.

Charles Bagot of Hardwicke Chambers, instructed by Clyde & Co and DAC Beachcroft, appeared for the Defendants.