Family want to remember dad ‘for how he lived’

Jim, left, with the Sam Maguire Cup in Maguire's Bar, Portadown (2002) , when Armagh beat Kerry in the GAA All Ireland Senior Championship. On the right of the picture is Seamus McCaffery who is a well known Portadown man and long time barman of Maguires Bar.
Jim, left, with the Sam Maguire Cup in Maguire's Bar, Portadown (2002) , when Armagh beat Kerry in the GAA All Ireland Senior Championship. On the right of the picture is Seamus McCaffery who is a well known Portadown man and long time barman of Maguires Bar.
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The family of a Portadown man who died in a private hospital say they will not be seeking a retrial of the surgeon convicted in connection with his death.

James (Jim) Hughes died at the Clementine Churchill Hospital in north west London in 2010, after falling unexpectedly ill following knee surgery.

David Sellu (69), was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter in November 2013 and handed a two-and-a-half-year prison term at the Old Bailey. He served 15 months and was released in February last year.

On Tuesday, three Court of Appeal judges in London allowed his challenge against the conviction relating to the death of Mr Hughes.

In a statement yesterday (Wednesday), the family of Mr Hughes said that “given that Mr Sellu has served his sentence, we will not be seeking a retrial”.

They said, “Our father’s suffering was not prioritised as the emergency it so clearly was. The truth is our father was a fit and healthy man, who lived a busy and active life.

“We have no doubt that dad would have wanted the truth of his untimely death to be exposed.

“However, we do not want to remember him for how he died but rather how he lived, with love for friends and family and a zest for life.”

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said, “We respect the judgment and note that there is no suggestion this case should not have been brought.

“Mr Sellu has served the full sentence imposed upon him following his conviction and taking this and other factors into account, including the views of Mr Hughes’s family, the CPS does not believe it would be in the public interest to seek a retrial.”

Mr Hughes (66), a semi-retired builder, had a planned left knee replacement on February 5 2010. The operation went well but while recovering he developed abdominal pain and was transferred to Mr Sellu’s care.

The standard of the doctor’s care of Mr Hughes over about 25 hours formed the basis of the case against him.

But a QC argued that the conviction for gross negligence manslaughter was “unsafe”.

The appeal was allowed on the ground of directions given to the jury by the trial judge on the issue of gross negligence manslaughter.

At the time of Sellu’s conviction, Mr Hughes’ wife Ann spoke to the Portadown Times of her relief that the truth had finally been revealed. But she said that the loss of the much-loved husband, father and grandfather had left them bereft, and “without the head of the family”.

Mr Hughes had a wide circle of friends and was a member of Armagh and Loughgall golf clubs.