Hello. It looks like you�re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best Tortoise experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help, let us know at memberhelp@tortoisemedia.com

A Tortoise File

A death at Lancaster Lodge

Sophie Bennett took her own life in a care facility that was crumbling around her. Paul Caruana Galizia and Chris Cook investigate what went wrong at a charity led by a famous mental health pioneer.

A death at Lancaster Lodge

First published
Monday 7 June 2021

Last updated
Monday 7 June 2021

Why this story?

This story discusses suicide and self-harm. If you need support, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch. Resources outside the UK are available here.

This is a story about Lancaster Lodge – and how a home looking after a small group of young women with serious mental illnesses turned from being a safe haven into a disaster. The decline in care and safety at the charity-run home caused the death of Sophie Bennett, a 19 year-old. But the story matters even beyond the immediate tragedy of her death. The institutions that were supposed to keep her safe failed – and there are 1,800 residential homes in England offering care to working age people with serious mental health conditions. Chris Cook, Editor