Trial date set for doctor, nurses over abortion death

African woman living in Ireland died after procedure in London

The trial of a doctor and two nurses on charges on manslaughter over the death of an African woman living in Ireland after she had an abortion at London clinic is expected to take place next March.

Dr Adedayo Adedeji, aged 63, a doctor and nurses, 32-year-old Gemma Pullan and 54-year-old Margaret Miller face prosecution over the death of the 32-year-old Malawian-born Aisha Chithira.

She had been living in Dublin with her husband on student visas, but travelled to London for an abortion of a 22-week foetus at a Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing on January 21st, 2012.

She became unwell after the mid-afternoon abortion, but was later discharged by the clinic. She then took a taxi to a friend's house in Slough in Berkshire, but suffered serious internal bleeding and cardiac arrest. An ambulance was called but she could not be revived.


Expressing concern over the length of time the case is taking, Judge Rebecca Poulet today set March 7th as the date of the opening of the trial in the Central Criminal Court in the Old Bailey, which is expected to last five to six weeks.

Dr Adedeji's barrister, Craig Ferguson said his client — whose legal costs are being covered by his medical insurance — is keen for a trial as early as possible, but the two other defendants may have to depend on legal aid.

Representing Margaret Miller, barrister, Katie Thorn said medical experts are increasingly reluctant to give evidence in criminal cases because of legal aid cutbacks.

The Chithira case will come back before the court on November 27th for a case management hearing, though all papers are to be served by the Crown Prosecution Service by the end of the month.

Mark Hennessy

Mark Hennessy

Mark Hennessy is a Project Editor with The Irish Times.