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16 January 2016 Investigation launched after man dies of Legionnaires' disease in Brentwood

posted 18 Jan 2016, 01:04 by Ian Clarenbone

An investigation is underway after a man at a care home in Hutton died of Legionnaires' disease.

Kenneth Ibbetson, 86, was staying at the BUPA-run Hutton Village Care Home when he contracted the disease and died in June. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) immediately launched an investigation.

Kenneth's three daughters are still getting to grips with the loss of their father, whose "rapid deterioration" and death was a shock. "His death was horrible," said Kenneth's eldest daughter Valerie Manning, who lives in The Heythrop in Ingatestone. "Dad was a good man and the day before he passed away he asked 'what have I done to deserve this?' He was on various medications but he was a very active man in his 80s. His first symptoms were on the Monday, he was taken to hospital on the Saturday and died on Tuesday, so it was a very quick, very aggressive pneumonia."

Kenneth and his brothers Vic and Eric, who still live in Harold Wood, ran their own printing business Abwoods and Co. Styling Ltd from their childhood home in Rainham. Kenneth worked into his 70s before being injured in an accident in September 2014. "He was a keen freemason and every year would go to masonic events in Bournemouth, and would always go on holiday in Cornwall with his mason friends," added Valerie, 58. "At the end of September 2014 he was on holiday in Cornwall and a suitcase fell down onto his leg and caused a wound, which wouldn't heal very easily and from that be became ill. Gradually he got back to good health but wasn't able to look after himself as well as he had done before." She added: "He went into the home at Easter and liked it so he stayed and made quite a lot of good friends. He used to take a bottle of sherry down to dinner and charm the ladies."

Valerie said Kenneth's health improved and he got happier before suddenly he had changed when she went to visit him shortly before his death. After falling ill he was taken to Basildon Hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia, before dying on June 23.

As well as Valerie, Kenneth left behind daughters Elaine Ward, 54, who lives in Kent and Felsted-based Caroline Peters, 51, and eight grandchildren.

Granddaughter Sarah Manning, 25, who lives in Pemberton Court, Ingatestone, added: "Grandad was always there for us offering advice when we needed it, telling amazing stories and never failing to make us laugh. All my memories are happy ones and I will forever be grateful for that."

The family is planning to sue BUPA and is taking legal advice.

A spokeswoman for Hutton Village Care Home said: "We would like to again send our condolences to the family and friends of Mr Ibbetson. "We are fully supporting the Health and Safety Executive with their investigation. However, as this is ongoing, we cannot comment any further."

A spokesman for the HSE said: "We are aware of this issue and investigating."