max temp: 15°C

min temp: 12°C


Ipswich/Westminster: Former Liberal Democrat candidate Manuela Sykes wins landmark dementia case

17:30 25 February 2014

An undated family handout of Manuela Sykes.

An undated family handout of Manuela Sykes.

An 89-year-old former Liberal candidate for Ipswich who suffers from dementia and wants to be looked after in the flat where she has lived for 60 years because she is “miserable” in a care home has won a court fight.

A Court of Protection judge has ruled that Manuela Sykes – who became a Labour a member of Westminster City Council in London in the 1970s – can return home on a one-month trial basis.

District Judge Anselm Eldergill also ruled that Ms Sykes could be named in media reports – in line with her wishes and after journalists argued that identification would be in the public interest.

Lawyers representing the pensioner said the judge’s decision to allow identification was “rare”.

Ms Sykes fought the Ipswich seat for the Liberals in 1957, 1959, and 1964.

Detail of Judge Eldergill’s decision has emerged in a written ruling following a Court of Protection hearing in London.

Court of Protection judges analyse cases involving vulnerable and sick people. Hearings are often held in private and people involved are not normally identified because of their vulnerability.

Judge Eldergill concluded that a one-month trial of home-based care would be in Ms Sykes’ best interests – even though social workers from her local authority, Westminster City Council, had raised concerns about her welfare if she left a care home.

The judge said if a trial was not attempted she would never again have the chance to live in her own home.

And he said all viable alternatives should be explored before a conclusion could be reached that it was in Ms Sykes’ best interests to spend the rest of her life in a care home.

Judge Eldergill said his decision to lift the “usual veil of anonymity” had been “finely balanced”. But he said the case was “relatively unusual” and Ms Sykes’ personality was a critical factor.

He said she had always “wished to be heard”, would want her life to end with a “bang not a whimper” and had a “last chance to exert a political influence”.

He also said “archival photographs” of Ms Sykes could be published – although not a current picture.

Anne-Marie Irwin – a specialist Court of Protection solicitor from law firm Irwin Mitchell, who had represented pensioner’s interests during litigation – said Ms Sykes had been a “leading dementia campaigner” who now suffered with the illness and was “miserable” in a care home.

“Manuela is firmly of the view that with the right kind of care package, she could be supported to return home safely,” she said.

“Although the kindness of her carers was praised, Manuela was miserable at the care home, and we asked the court to consider if it is truly in her best interests to remain deprived of her liberty.

“The court was asked on her behalf – what is the point of being kept safe, when to do so is also making you miserable?”

She added: “We are confident that with specialist dementia carers Ms Sykes can greatly benefit from returning to her own home.”


  • "Liberal Democrat candidate"? That political party didn't even exist back then! Ms Sykes stood as a candidate for the Liberal Party. I am very surprised that Mr Geater of all people would get this basic fact wrong!

    Report this comment

    Mister Cynical

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • she was a lovely looking girl and i am sure she is still a nice looking woman [ all the best miss sykes]

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More than 4,000 motorists were caught speeding during the first three months of enforcing the new 60mph speed limit on the Orwell Bridge.

A drug user found with cannabis inside a Kinder egg after going to Martlesham police investigation centre to answer bail for a theft offence has been jailed.

A person has been successfully talked down from the Orwell Bridge this morning.

It didn’t last long – Town couldn’t turn their victory against Burton into a winning streak and succumbed to a 3-0 loss to Newcastle last weekend.

As we approach November there is still plenty of great local sport to get your teeth into.

Mid Suffolk District Council have apologised after admitting an “embarrassing” mistake was made in a letter sent to voters this week.

A broken down train between Ipswich and Felixstowe has closed the line this morning.

Three trains have been cancelled and several others delayed by up to 60 minutes due to a broken down train at Needham Market.

Local government secretary Sajid Javid has spent a day trying to resuscitate devolution proposals for Suffolk and Norfolk at meetings in both counties.

A Suffolk church verger who told his 70-year-old neighbour “you’ll get what’s coming to you” has been banned from contacting her for a year.

Most read

Most commented


Show Job Lists

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24