INQUEST INTO THE DEATH OF ELEANOR DE FREITAS CONCLUDES
17 March 2015
The inquest into the death of Eleanor de Freitas concluded today with the Coroner finding:
"Eleanor de Freitas took her own life. The impending court hearing was clearly a significant stressor in her life at that time"
Speaking outside the court Eleanor’s father David de Freitas said:
“The coroner has accepted that the prosecution was a very significant stressor which led to my daughter Eleanor taking her life.
We are therefore disappointed that the coroner did not allow us to explore what we believe are serious failings by a state body, namely the CPS. This was an entirely appropriate area of exploration for an inquest. The coroner has simply accepted the CPS' review of their own actions.
The inquest should have been an opportunity for independent scrutiny and to learn lessons from this tragic death.
As a result we are considering a judicial review challenge of this inquest.”
Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST said:
“INQUEST is concerned that the opportunity for the inquest to fully scrutinise the important public interest issues in this case have been frustrated by the coroners narrow approach.
We now call for an urgent review of the way complainants of domestic violence and sexual abuse are treated in the criminal justice system. “
INQUEST has been working with the family of Eleanor de Freitas since September 2014. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Harriet Wistrich of Birnberg Peirce and barristers Leslie Thomas QC and Catherine Oborne of Garden Court Chambers.
‘Lobbying that is based on thorough research and casework (such as that done by INQUEST), and focuses on specific issues, such as the deaths of children in custody, needs support.’
– New Philanthropy Capital, 'Trial and error: Children and young people in trouble with the law, a guide for charities'