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‘I want to die but I want justice first’ - Diss mother’s quest for answers over her son’s death 13 years ago

PUBLISHED: 14:04 21 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:29 22 October 2017

Heather Heslop is fighting to get answers following the death of her son Jonathan (pictured). 
Photo: Sonya Duncan

Heather Heslop is fighting to get answers following the death of her son Jonathan (pictured). Photo: Sonya Duncan

A mother has hit out at police for not investigating her son’s death 13 years ago, as she is still searching for answers surrounding the tragedy.

Heather Heslop is fighting to get answers following the death of her son Jonathan. Photo: Sonya Duncan Heather Heslop is fighting to get answers following the death of her son Jonathan. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Jonathon Heslop was 39 when he died of septicaemia at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) in 2004.

Ever since his mother, Heather, has been searching for answers over her son’s death. She is convinced a drug called phenytoin - which Mr Heslop was allergic to - played a part.

His medical notes from the ward at the time recorded phenytoin on his drug allergy chart.

But when he died in 2004 on a different ward, he had been given the medication and his medical notes made no mention of the drug allergy. Phenytoin is used to treat seizures, but in rare cases allergic reactions to phenytoin can result in damage to the liver or bone marrow.

Heather Heslop is fighting to get answers following the death of her son Jonathan. Photo: Sonya Duncan Heather Heslop is fighting to get answers following the death of her son Jonathan. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Norfolk Police said two independent reviews found the drug did not play a part in Mr Heslop’s death, so no further police action was taken. But widowed Mrs Heslop, 75, who lives in Diss, said this was the wrong decision and since her son’s death has sent hundreds of letters to the police, the hospital, the coroner, and other agencies in her search for justice. Now, she claimed they had stopped replying.

She said the loss of her son, who had two daughters, had ruined her life.

“I just want to die but I want justice first,” she said. “It’s never been about money or anything, for me I just want the truth and I want them to say sorry for what they did to my son. I don’t want it to happen to other people.”

Previously an NNUH spokesman said it would not be sensible to reinvestigate the death after so many years.

A spokesman said: “We have provided detailed explanations to Mrs Heslop’s queries and her son’s death was extensively investigated, both internally and externally.

“Mr Heslop had a complex medical history with a number of serious long-standing medical conditions.

“Mrs Heslop’s questions were looked into and detailed replies provided in writing and in person.”

In her most recent letter, sent to police in July, Mrs Helsop said: “The families of Hillsborough never gave up seeking justice for their loved ones. Stephen Lawrence’s mother never gave up and got justice for the murder of her son and the culprit is now in prison. I shall never give up seeking justice for my son Jonathan. Somebody must take responsibility for the criminal negligence.

“I feel I am being victimised through trying to seek justice from the very organisation that upholds justice in the onset. My own condition seems to deteriorate and manifests into my health condition, making my life harder to deal with knowing the answer has not been resolved. I feel upset, all these years have gone by, such a clear cut case being flaunted into such a long period.”

A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman said: “In 2015 Mrs Heslop contacted Norfolk Police raising concerns regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of her son Jonathan. Her concerns focused on the use of a specified drug used as part of her son’s medication whilst in hospital.

“Officers visited Mrs Heslop and subsequently conducted a review of Jonathan’s death from paperwork retained by both her and HM Coroners Office.”

Following this the spokesman said there were two independent reviews by qualified clinical physicians; one commissioned by Norfolk Police in 2008 and a further review sourced by Mrs Heslop in 2009. The spokesman added: “Both experts were in agreement that the medication used had no bearing on the cause of his death and that he died from complications arising out of a combination of ongoing medical conditions. As a result no further police action was taken.”

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