'No further action' after 11 deaths at Sidford care home

Holmesley Care Home at Sidmouth

Holmesley Care Home at Sidmouth - Credit: Daniel Clark

A police investigation into an outbreak of COVID-19 at a Sidmouth care home has concluded, with no further action to be taken against two suspects.

Eleven deaths were reported at Holmesley Care Home in Sidford between February 25 and April 16, which were all believed to be related to the outbreak.

An investigation, led by Devon & Cornwall Police, was launched in partnership with a multi-agency safeguarding response to ensure the well-being of the residents in the home and specialist officers have been liaising with family members.

Following extensive enquiries, which involved interviewing staff and residents’ family members and searches of the home, and with early consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, the decision has been made that the criminal threshold for neglect has not been met.

As part of police enquiries, no further action will therefore be taken against a 57-year-old woman from Sidmouth and a 30-year-old man from Exeter, who were investigated on suspicion of wilful neglect under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

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Both the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are now considering offences relating to the Care Act 2014 and health and safety legislation.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Lesley Bulley, said: “Our priority has been to understand the cause of the outbreak at Holmesley Care Home and ensure that safeguarding concerns were addressed.  

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“We would like to thank the families of the deceased for their patience throughout what has been a really complex case.”

A CQC spokesperson, added: “Following the inspection of Holmesley Care Home, CQC imposed urgent conditions upon the service. Following this, CQC are considering what further action we may want to take.”

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