Worthing’s Parys Lapper inquest adjourned after psychiatrist becomes ‘person of interest’

The inquest into the death of millennium baby Parys Lapper has been adjourned after his private psychiatrist was made a person of interest.

Friday, 11th December 2020, 4:19 pm

Nineteen-year-old Parys, who was part of the BBC series Child of Our Time following babies born in 2000, was found dead in Worthing’s Wolsey Hotel on August 13 last year.

Parys died of a drug overdose after mixing medicine prescribed to treat his ADHD and anxiety with opiates such as tramadol and ketamine, his inquest heard last Monday (December 7).

Despite having struggled with his mental health and substance abuse issues from his early teens, Parys was able to access additional medication by simultaneously seeing an NHS and private psychiatrist.

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On the fourth day of Parys’ inquest today (December 11), West Sussex Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield granted a delay of proceedings until the new year after ruling the private psychiatrist, Dr Richard Duffett, should be questioned as a person of interest.

Outlining her decision, Ms Schofield said: “Following GP evidence it became apparent to the court there was evidence Duffett’s actions may have caused or contributed to the death.”

After being informed he was a person of interest last Monday, Dr Duffett sought the advice of the National Doctors’ Union (NDU) and legal counsel.

His solicitor, Simon Cheverst, asked for the inquest to be pushed back to April to allow time for him to review the evidence already presented.

Dr Duffett may also have to call his own witnesses, he added.

But Ms Schofield questioned why such a long delay was needed for evidence that was only heard for a few hours last Monday.

She said she had to balance the difficult position Dr Duffett and his legal team were in with the impact on Parys’ family, including his mother Alison who attended the inquest.

An adjournment was agreed and intended for the second week in January.