Mum still desperate for answers a year after daughter's tragic death

First published in Milford Mercury news

It has been nearly a year since the death of her 14-year-old daughter while in the care of social services, but a Haverfordwest mother says she is still fighting for answers.

Seren Bernard was found dead in Milford Haven on April 2nd 2012 and had been in local authority care against the wishes of her mother Sarah Pollock, who retained parental responsibility.

A devastated Sarah had called for answers following Seren's death which she had warned was inevitable if the counselling and help she felt Seren needed was not provided, but this had been 'disregarded' she claimed.

Sarah said that her decisions had been 'overruled' on a number of occasions including one that resulted in Seren being admitted to hospital following a birthday party at a nightclub.

An inquest into Seren's death has yet to be held and requires the results of a serious case review before it goes ahead.

"Documents that should have been submitted to my solicitor by September were not and the coroner had requested reports by December. It's nearly a year since Seren's death and I've had no contact, no information," said Sarah.

"My solicitor has said 'there's postponement, there's delays and then there's this'.

"I'm baffled and appalled at how slow it has been," said Sarah.

Before Seren's death Sarah had been calling for extra vigilance and support for her youngest child, who had been a grade A student and keen sportswoman before her troubles began age 12.

"I still want the answers.

"I still want it highlighted that change should come in Pembrokeshire. It might be historic in some people's eyes but it's still raw and fresh in mine.

"I've still no explanation, no deadlines being met, once I have an outcome, maybe my grieving can conclude, I need to have some answers".

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council told the Mercury: "A serious case review is not an investigation in to the cause of death – that is a matter for the coroner.

"A serious case review is a review of practice by all agencies. This is overseen by the Pembrokeshire Safeguarding Children’s Board, where all agencies involved including the local health board and the police complete internal management reviews before passing these on to an independent overview report author.

"Mrs Pollock has been told that this person is due to be in contact with her shortly to ensure her views are taken into account."

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