The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service confirmed Friday that U.K. national Kate Clayton’s death following a Jan. 11 car crash on Grand Cayman is now the subject of a police investigation.
Ms. Clayton, 30, died in February following the one-car collision in North Side district. However, a U.K. coroner later ruled that the injuries from the car crash were not the primary factor in her demise.
“We are investigating the circumstances surrounding her death,” a statement released by the RCIPS Friday afternoon indicated. “[The] investigation will determine whether any offences have been committed.”
Kate’s mother, Jo Clayton, said she had been informed by her local police force in Southampton earlier this month that a preliminary investigation had been initiated by the Cayman Islands police. Jo Clayton said she was glad that someone was reviewing the circumstances of her daughter’s death.
“I am delighted that this is being looked into at last,” she said. “It did feel like [Kate] had been forgotten, but we are relieved to hear that is not the case.
“There isn’t a moment that has gone by where we don’t think of Kate. Nothing can bring her back, but if there is something that can be done that prevents another family going through what we have been through, then we welcome that.”
A U.K. coroner who reviewed Ms. Clayton’s death in March noted three factors led to the dive industry worker’s death. The first cause was listed as “hypoxic brain injury,” the secondary cause as a “failed percutaneous tracheostomy” and the tertiary cause was “multiple injuries from road traffic collision.”
Central Hampshire Assistant Coroner Sarah Whitby, who signed the March 25 autopsy, noted the following in her report: “The deceased Kate Laura Louise Clayton was seriously injured in a road traffic accident on the Grand Cayman Island. Miss Clayton was treated at the Cayman Islands Hospital for spinal fractures, pelvic and bowel injuries and in the course of treatment had a failed tracheostomy procedure where the procedure and its management prevented oxygen reaching Miss Clayton’s brain for a period of at least eight minutes resulting in hypoxic brain injury.
“Miss Clayton’s subsequent death on Feb. 18, 2015 having been transferred to Southampton General Hospital was as a direct result of the failed tracheostomy which evidence indicates was inadequately carried out.”
According to several reports in the U.K. following the inquest in March, Jo Clayton told the Central Hampshire coroner that her daughter’s condition had been improving after the accident, prior to the tracheostomy. These accounts were confirmed during a Cayman Compass interview with Jo Clayton who told the newspaper her daughter was partially paralyzed in the initial crash, but had been conscious and was communicating prior to the tracheostomy.
The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority has repeatedly declined to discuss specific details of Kate Clayton’s case, citing patient confidentiality requirements.
The RCIPS did not initially report details of the crash until Jan. 23 – nearly two weeks after it happened.
According to a police statement regarding the incident at the time: “A Jeep Wrangler driven by a 30-year-old female resident of East End was traveling on Old Robin Road headed in the direction of Queens Highway when it veered off the road before negotiating a sharp right bend corner and collided into large trees. The driver sustained serious head and back injuries. She was transported to the George Town Hospital where she is still admitted.”