Two nurses acquitted of manslaughter and regulatory offences after the death of a patient following a termination procedure

After six days of legal argument the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has offered no evidence against Margaret Miller and Gemma Pullen, bringing their trial at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) to an end.

Jenny Wiltshire, solicitor for Margaret Miller, said :

“The defence has always argued that this case should never have been prosecuted.  Following six days of legal argument, the Crown Prosecution Service accepted it no longer had confidence in its own decision-making processes.  It is hard to think of a more woeful state of affairs.”

Notes to Editors

Margaret Miller, who had been a nurse for 36 years, and Gemma Pullen, also an experienced nurse, were working at Marie Stopes Ealing clinic which offered pregnancy terminations when a patient presented at the clinic in January 2012 for a late-stage termination.  The patient died after being discharged, owing to an injury sustained during the surgery.  Three-and-a-half years later, the surgeon and the two nurses who had provided aftercare were charged with gross negligence manslaughter and Health and Safety offences.  In May 2016, after the service of extensive expert evidence by the defence which said they had done nothing wrong, the manslaughter charge was dropped.  The Crown decided to proceed against the two nurses on a charge of failure to take reasonable care under section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

An application to stay the proceedings was made on the grounds that the CPS failed to follow its policy to apply the Health and Safety Executive Policies.  As a result of their policies the Health and Safety Executive had decided to not even investigate.

After six days of detailed legal argument, the CPS today offered no evidence having concluded that it no longer had confidence in its own earlier decision-making processes.

The Judge ordered that there be a review at the highest level into failures in the CPS decision-making process, and the significant delay in bringing charges.

For more information please contact:

Jenny Wiltshire, Partner jwiltshire@hickmanandrose.co.uk

Jenny Wiltshire is head of general crime at Hickman & Rose.  She has a specialist interest in complex forensic cases, and in defending health service staff.