Family of Burton Latimer mother-of-four who died from Covid-19 fight for justice

Gina Davies, 47, died at Kettering General Hospital in April and her family want answers about how the government handled the pandemic response

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 10:12 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 10:36 am
Jenny Davies says she could not have loved Gina was a devoted wife and mother. (Ali Bagley pic)

The family of a Burton Latimer mother who died of coronavirus has joined a nationwide group of bereaved families taking legal action to force a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic.

Mum of four Gina Davies, 47, tragically died at Kettering General Hospital on April 21, after contracting the virus.

Now her mother-in-law Cllr Jenny Davies is fighting on the family’s behalf for justice as part of 1,500 strong campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, which has instructed a legal team to fight their case for a major investigation into the Government’s response to the pandemic.

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The family are uncertain how and where Gina, 47, contracted the virus.

Jenny, 78, said: “We feel cheated of Gina’s early death. She is going to be missed, and missed and missed.

“Her loss has taken so much out of the family. When you lose someone at just 47, that is on a level that you can’t imagine.

“There has been a good deal of anger as well about how the whole thing has been handled and a lot of people feel badly let down.

“A lot of people feel the Government just wants all of us bereaved by covid to go away. To shut up and not say anything. But I’m afraid we are not going to. We are not going to cry quietly in the corner. We feel an injustice has been done. I just can’t help thinking if something had been done earlier she would still be here.

“The group is fighting for a full public enquiry so that people can be subpoenaed and made to account for their actions and the decisions they made.

“I have been in local government as a councillor since 1981 and have held positions of responsibility and have at times had to account for my actions. If you are not prepared to take responsibility then you should not be in government.

“If the response had been quicker, then there are people who are dead who might have been alive today.”

The Conservative government has faced widespread criticism by families about how some aspects of its Covid-19 response have been handled. Official statistics (which have in recent weeks been revised downwards) say that 41,000 people have died in England from the pandemic which broke out in the country on January 29 before the Government introduced lockdown of all residents on March 23.

Many have argued that lockdown should have been entered into sooner and the nationwide discharge of patients into care homes without testing for the virus has been heavily criticised.

Jenny, who like her daughter-in-law is originally from Luton, moved to Burton Latimer after the death of her husband in 2013, and says Gina was a bubbly person who was devoted to her husband Jason, 49 and four children.

She said: “It is supposed to be illegal for mother and daughter in laws to get on, but I had two lovely daughter-in-laws. I loved Gina as if she was my own daughter, she could not have been dearer to me. She was so bubbly and very family orientated – everything was for and about the family.

"She was in a head-on road accident in 2001, when she was pregnant, and it left her disabled. It meant she could not be as active as she used to be.

"When she got the virus she did not have the strength to fight it. We all hoped she would because she was so full of life, but she had limitations because of her disability.

"We all hoped that she might pull through but I’m afraid she didn’t because her heart gave out.

“When you get that phone call at 5.45am in the morning, you don’t need to be told what the message is.

“It has been like someone has turned a light out . The whole family is devastated.”

Gina became ill with a cough and breathlessness and within a week was admitted to Kettering General Hospital. After being placed on a ventilator she passed away a few days later on April 21. The family, who were unable to visit, say the hospital staff did all they could to help her survive. They are unsure of where she contracted the virus.

A socially distanced family funeral was held at Kettering crematorium and neighbours came out on the street to see off her funeral cortège and filled the front lawn with flowers.

In memory of Gina and other coronavirus victims Burton Latimer Town Council is going to plant a tree of remembrance.

Jenny, who was due to be mayor this year but turned the honour down after Gina’s death, is determined to see the fight for justice through to the end.

She said: “They (the government) need to know we are not going away. We have been let down by rules and regulations and we want this all out in the public. We are not going to wait for 20 years for answers. The response from the government has been completely inadequate.”

So far the Government has not responded to calls for an inquiry by legal firm Broudie Jackson Canter which is acting on a pro bono basis for the families. Prime Minister Johnson has said there will be one in the future but now is not the right time.

Leanne Devine, director of civil liberties from Broudie Jackson Canter, said: “The requests to meet have been refused which demonstrates a lack of support, respect and humanity to the bereaved. We have now written to Government advising that our clients intend to bring Judicial Review proceedings to challenge the failure to commit to an immediate statutory Inquiry with an urgent phase. An immediate Inquiry will mean that documents must be retained and witnesses can be compelled to give evidence.

“There needs to be a rapid review to prevent further unnecessary deaths this winter. The Government was too scared to take action at the start of the pandemic, it is too scared to allow a public Inquiry into their response and it is too scared to meet the bereaved families.

“Legal action is a last resort for the family group but it is the only option if Government will not meet with these families and act. The group need to raise funds to enable them to cover the Government’s legal costs if they are not successful with their action. The crowdfunder can be found here”.

The Labour party has said it will support the bereaved families in their fight.

A petition for an enquiry by the campaign group has now gained more than 172,000 signatures.

Are you a member of Covid-19 Bereaved Familes for Justice? If so please contact Sarah Ward on 07393 754744 or at [email protected]co.uk

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