A Coroner has criticised a local authority and a housing association for causing the death of a vulnerable woman who fell from her balcony following an epileptic seizure.

Marwo Kassim, 39, was found on the pavement outside her third-floor flat in Acton, West London on June 2022.  Jim Duffy represented Marwo’s family at her inquest, instructed by Sarah Westoby of Leigh Day.

Marwo suffered from severe epilepsy. She had been housed previously by Ealing Council on the 8th floor of a tower block, where to access her flat she had to walk along an open walkway. Marwo requested a transfer from that property on the basis of her fear of falling from height as a result of a seizure. A housing association, L&Q, then provided her with a third floor flat featuring a balcony. She lived alone.

In September 2015 and thereafter, Marwo and her family sought her transfer to a ground floor flat. Her treating consultant neurologist supported her application to L&Q, expressly warning that there was a significant risk of her falling from the balcony.

The same risk was identified during a November 2015 assessment by an Ealing social worker, but no care plan was ever put in place and no action taken with regard to Marwo’s position on the third floor.

She was never relocated and the risk the family had feared tragically materialised on 19 June 2019. Marwo died in hospital nine days later.

Concluding the Article 2 inquest, Assistant Coroner Richard Furniss concluded that Marwo had died as a result of an accident but one that had been caused by the failure to provide her with a ground floor flat.

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