A LEADING law firm has begun an investigation against the Home Office and its housing contractor Mears Group over the death of asylum seeker Mercy Baguma as it pursues damages for her young son, The National can confirm.
The 34-year-old Ugandan was found dead in her flat, several days after she was last seen by partner Eric Nnanna, who did not share the Glasgow property. Their 18-month-old son Adriel was found malnourished in his cot but has made a full recovery after hospital treatment and is in the care of his student father.
Until now, Mercy’s cause of death was not known but the post mortem has confirmed alcohol poisoning and ketoacidosis, which causes symptoms including vomiting, weakness and rapid breathing. However, it also confirmed no history of alcohol abuse.
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Digby Brown Solicitors now claims failures by Mears Group may have prevented subsea and pipeline engineering student Nnanna from helping his young family. He spent most of his time at Mercy’s flat after lockdown started, but left the night before she was to move into Mears Group accommodation in accordance with her asylum claim, the law firm said.
When he returned on moving day, August 19, she did not answer her door or her phone and Nnanna assumed the transfer had occurred. Because Mears did not provide new address details, he had nowhere else to check and waited for further contact.
When none came, he returned on August 22 and heard Adriel crying after knocking and lifting the letterbox. Police then entered the property and found the mother and toddler.
The National asked Mears if it had attempted this move, visited Mercy or attempted to contact her on August 19, as well for any actions taken around this. No information was received and Digby Brown said this is still unknown.
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It is now seeking answers and damages for Adriel’s suffering. Kim Leslie, partner at Digby Brown Solicitors, said: “Should there be evidence of negligence, neglect or a failure to act on the part of those who were responsible for the welfare of Adriel then we will see to it that he accesses the justice he deserves.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “This is a tragic situation and our condolences go to Ms Baguma’s family. It would be inappropriate to comment further whilst investigations by Scottish authorities are ongoing.”
A Mears spokesperson added: “We are very sorry to hear about the tragic death of Mercy Baguma and our thoughts are with her loved ones.”