Optometrist tells court she ‘did her best’ as she is cross examined in manslaughter trial over death of Vinne Barker, eight

Honey Rose

Honey Rose - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

An eye expert accused of failing to spot serious abnormalities in the eyes of an Ipswich schoolboy who later died has told a court she “had done her best” when she tested his eyes.

Undated handout photo issued by Suffolk Police of Vincent Barker, known as Vinnie, died on July 13 2

Undated handout photo issued by Suffolk Police of Vincent Barker, known as Vinnie, died on July 13 2012 - around five months after he was taken to have a routine eye test at Boots the Opticians in Upper Brook Street in Ipswich, Suffolk. The death of an eight-year-old boy could have been prevented if an eye specialist, Honey Rose, had "done her job properly", Ipswich Crown Court has heard. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday July 5, 2016. The conduct of locum optometrist Honey Rose, 35, fell so far below the standards expected that it was "criminal". Rose, from Newham, east London, is charged with gross negligence manslaughter. See PA story COURTS Optometrist. Photo credit should read: Suffolk Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder. - Credit: PA

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court, Honey Rose, who was working as a locum at Boots opticians in Upper Brook Street, Ipswich, said she had been unable to properly examine the back of eight-year-old Vinnie Barker’s eyes with an opthalmoscope because he had displayed “slight photophobia” by shutting his eyes when she shone a bright light into them at close range.

She said Vinnie, of Henley Road, Ipswich, had not had a problem with other tests she had performed using a pen torch so she did not consider he suffered from serious photophobia and had therefore not made a note of it on his records.

She said in addition to closing his eyes when she tried to examine him with the opthalmoscope, Vinnie had not looked in the direction she wanted and had what she described as “poor fixation”.

She said she that after “a couple of minutes” of trying she had abandoned examining Vinnie’s eyes with the opthalmoscope.

She accepted that if she had been able to see his optic discs she would have spotted there was a serious problem and immediately referred him to hospital.

Asked by prosecution counsel Jonathan Rees QC: “Did you actually bother to look at the back of his eye?” Rose replied: “I did my best.”

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Asked by Mr Rees: “Are you sure you conducted a proper examination of Vinnie?” Rose replied: “Yes I’m sure.”

She denied a suggestion she had failed to to carry out a thorough eye test because she had “made an assumption he would be fine.”

She also denied a suggestion she “hadn’t bothered” looking at retinal images of Vinnie’s eyes which would have shown there was a serious problem and claimed a colleague could have showed her someone else’s images.

Rose, 35, of London, has denied Vinnie’s manslaughter by gross negligence on July 13, 2012.

It has been alleged she failed to notice “obvious abnormalities” in both Vinnie’s eyes during a routine eye test and he died five months later from fluid on the brain.

Mr Rees QC claimed if Vinnie, of Henley Road, Ipswich, had been urgently referred his medical condition would have been identified and successfully treated.

The trial continues.