Bullying mother robbed teenage son of his childhood by convincing him he was dying, judge says

The Royal Courts of Justice in London, ALAMY

A "bullying" mother robbed her teenage son of his childhood by convincing him he was dying, a judge has said.


The 15-year-old boy suffers from a variety of medical problems, but his parents exaggerated his symptoms, said Mr Justice Hayden. This saw him spend prolonged periods of time in hospital.

The "bullying and bombastic" behaviour of the boy's mother also led to medics treating him becoming intimidated, he added in the ruling.

The judge has been asked to make decisions about the boy's welfare at hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

The judge has not identified the family, but he said Westminster City Council social services staff had welfare responsibilities and indicated that specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London were involved in his care.

Mr Justice Hayden indicated that the boy had a number of ailments including digestive difficulties, blood pressure problems and joint pain and said that he had been placed at a residential unit under the care of Westminster City Council some months ago.

He said he had taken the "relatively unusual" step of personally visiting the teenager.

The judge, who published another ruling on the case in March, said lawyers had compiled 40 lever-arch files of medical records relating to the boy during the course of proceedings.

"[His] parents had misreported and exaggerated [his] medical symptoms," said Mr Justice Hayden.

"[His] mother, through bullying and bombastic behaviour, had intimidated medical professionals and others to the extent that she confused and undermined their confidence in their own professional judgment."

The judge added: "[His] mother presented [him] to the world as dying, in extremely alarming e-mails.

"Moreover, on the evidence, she inculcated in [the boy] himself, a view that he was dying. The parents' actions led to prolonged stays in hospital, the consequence of which was that [he] has been robbed of much of his childhood and teenage years."

In a ruling published in March, Mr Justice Hayden had criticised Westminster council social services staff.

He said the teenager had been placed at a residential unit under the care of Westminster council months earlier but that he was "extremely disappointed" by the council's "lack of attention" to the boy's care.

The judge said the teenager had received "inadequate educational provision", "virtually no opportunity for social provision", "negligible physiotherapy" and "no satisfactory medical review".

Mr Justice Hayden said at the latest hearing that he had been asked to make decisions on a number of issues relating to what care and treatment the teenager should next receive.

Earlier, social services bosses had asked him to make findings of fact relating to a number of issues, including the boy's parents' behaviour.

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