Briefly, Mayra was recruited by the NHS to come to Swindon to work as a Nurse at the Great Western Hospital. Ironically this is where she died in 2004 because of a hospital blunder during the birth of her first child. An epidural anaesthetic was mistakenly injected into the vein in her hand rather than a saline solution. About 45 minutes later, she began to feel dizzy and faint and then suffered a cardiac arrest. Resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful and sadly Mayra died.

An Inquest later ruled that Mayra had died unlawfully as a result of the actions of one of the midwives and the hospital. The Jury returned a verdict of gross negligence manslaughter.

It was Mayra’s and her husband’s, Arnel’s wish to make a new life for themselves in Swindon and to bring up their son in their newly adopted country. It was hoped that the Government would show compassion by allowing him to remain indefinitely in the UK. His residency had depended on Mayra who had been an essential worker.

Sadly, the Home Office have refused his application to stay. Their letter of refusal said:-

“It is considered that (Mr Cabrera) has not established a family life with his son in the United Kingdom. As his son (Zachary) remains in the Philippines there are no insurmountable obstacles to his family life being continued overseas”.

Not surprisingly, Arnel was devastated and shocked by this decision. He feels that he has been let down by the Government. He has had no option but to return to the Philippines.

In view of the circumstances surrounding Mayra’s death and the verdict reached by the Jury following a long and detailed Inquest and in particular the Coroner’s comments following the verdict, we find it very difficult to understand how the Home Office has reached this decision. An on-line petition was been set up by our firm to try and get it overturned.


It has been extremely difficult in the past to prosecute any company for the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter as you first need to identify a “controlling mind” within the company namely an individual who is responsible for the health and safety breach which led to a person’s death. This has almost been impossible to establish especially where a company has a complex management structure eg. as we saw in the Hatfield train crash.

In 2006 – 2007 alone 241 people were injured fatally at work according to the Crown Prosecution Service. Since 1992 there have been 32 prosecutions and only 6 convictions.

The Corporate Manslaughter Act (which came into effect on the 6 April 2008) creates a new statutory offence in that an organisation’s “senior management” can now be prosecuted where a person’s death has been caused by a “gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed to that person”. The Police no longer have to identify an individual. The breach lies in the way the organisation’s senior management manages or organises its activities.

This is a welcome development and will hopefully make companies more accountable for their actions in the future where people die from one of their activities. It should result in senior management giving health and safety of its employees and the public at large a greater priority and they will also have to ensure that health and safety practices introduced by the company are in fact followed by their staff. Failure to do so, may result in the company being prosecuted. As well as facing an unlimited fine it would also create a lot of bad publicity for them.

Those companies with good health and safety practices have nothing to fear from this new legislation. These companies will continue to have far fewer claims and there should be no increase in either their public or employers insurance indemnity premiums which could jeopardize their economic viability.