Ourania Lambrou: Force of push caused Kentish Town grandmother’s fatal brain bleed, pathologist tells inquest
PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:05 18 June 2019
A Kentish Town grandmother’s fatal brain haemorrhage was caused by the force with which she was pushed over last year, a neurological pathologist has told an inquest.
Ourania Lambrou died after being shoved over near Camden Road's Esso petrol station on March 31 last year. The 80-year-old died at the Royal Free Hospital on April 3, after a small bleed in her brain became worse.
Harry Goodwin-Sims was jailed for six years last year for her manslaughter.
Prof Safa Al-Sarraj, a consultant neuropathologist from Kings College Hospital who carried out the autopsy on her brain, also said the bleed was likely to have been caused by the "jerking movement" of being pushed and her fall being sharply stopped by the ground and a metal pole.
Her condition was made worse by her taking the blood-thinning drug warfarin for atrial fibrillation, which makes it harder for blood to clot. Prof Al-Sarraj said medication with the opposite effect would have been given to her if the bleed had been picked up, although conceded that had its own risks.
"It's a very complex decision," he told the court.
After viewing bodycam footage from PC Sundeep Kang, he went on to say that it was "unlikely" that the bleed would have been caused by PC Kang asking her to get up off the pavement, despite having a back injury.
During the morning session at St Pancras Coroner's Court, the consultant told senior coroner Mary Hassell that the sudden "jerking" had caused a bleed between her brain and the dura membrane that protects it at the top of the skull.
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It was not picked up until she was admitted to the Royal Free on April 3, the court heard. Her daughter had discovered her unconscious in bed earlier that day.
Under questioning from John Cooper QC, representing the Lambrou family, Prof Al-Sarraj said that even if the bleed had been discovered when she was initially admitted on March 31, it would not have meant she definitely would have survived.
"It is not an easy decision. Surgery would have been possible. How to monitor patients and how to treat them differs [...] a haematoma is difficult to control.
"The course of action is to take it out as quickly as possible and see if they survive. Even if they remove the haematoma, they might survive a week or a day because the brain has suffered. [But] it is possible if she had surgery that she would have survived."
Later in the hearing, the court heard that PC Kang had helped Mrs Lambrou move as it was "cold and wet" and he wanted to make her comfortable as he was unsure when an ambulance would arrive.
The officer, who has been with the Metropolitan Police for seven years, said he had previously waited for "two to three" hours for an ambulance to attend an incident.
Bodycam footage showed her being sheltered by an umbrella while on the pavement and Mrs Lambrou being helped to her feet. When she was asked if she could move, she replied, I will try." PC Kang moved his car closer to shorten the distance she would have to walk.
He told the court that he had carried out a "dynamic risk assessment" on whether to move Mrs Lambrou. He did not know that a member of the public who had phoned 999 had been told not to move her by emergency services. When asked by Ms Hassell, he said that in the same circumstances, he would not do anything differently.
The inquest continues. It is currently scheduled to finish on Wednesday afternoon.