Who is LB?

LB is short for Laughing Boy, the name used online for Connor Sparrowhawk.

Connor was a fit and healthy young man, who loved buses, London, Eddie Stobart and speaking his mind.

Connor had autism and epilepsy.

Photo Credit: Oxford Mail (

On the 19 March 2013, he was admitted to hospital (Slade House Assessment and Treatment Unit run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust).

He drowned in the bath on 4 July 2013. An entirely preventable death.

What is Justice for LB?

For LB

  • Staff, as appropriate, to be referred to their relevant regulatory bodies
  • A corporate manslaughter prosecution brought against the trust
  • Meaningful involvement at the inquest, and any future investigations into LB’s death, so we can see the Trust and staff account for their actions in public

For Southern Health and the local authority

  • Explanation from the CCG/LA about how they could commission such poor services
  • Reassurance about how they will ensure this cannot happen again
  • An independent investigation into the other ‘natural cause’ deaths in Southern Health learning disability and mental health provision over the past 10 years

For all the young dudes

  • An effective demonstration by the NHS to making provision for learning disabled people a complete and integral part of the health and care services provided rather than add on, ad hoc and (easily ignored) specialist provision
  • Proper informed debate about the status of learning disabled adults as full citizens in the UK, involving and led by learning disabled people and their families, and what this means in terms of service provision in the widest sense and the visibility of this group as part of ‘mainstream’ society.

For all the young dudes (cont.)

  • A change in the law so that every unexpected death in a ‘secure’ (loose definition) or locked unit automatically is investigated independently
  • Inspection/regulation: It shouldn’t take catastrophic events to bring appalling professional behaviour to light. There is something about the “hiddenness” of terrible practices that happen in full view of health and social care professionals. Both Winterbourne and STATT had external professionals in and out. LB died and a team were instantly sent in to investigate and yet nothing amiss was noticed. Improved CQC inspections could help to change this, but a critical lens is needed to examine what ‘(un)acceptable’ practice looks like for dudes like LB
  • Prevention of the misuse/appropriation of the mental capacity act as a tool to distance families and isolate young dudes

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