Anorexic teenager who wants to go home must stay in specialist unit – judge

An anorexic teenager who wants to go home must stay in specialist accommodation, a Court of Protection judge has decided.

The 17-year-old girl, who at one stage weighed 4st 6lb (28.1kg), left home several months ago after health workers and social services staff raised concerns about her weight, Mr Justice Hayden was told.

Social workers had been concerned about the care the girl, who was living with her mother, was receiving.

Mr Justice Hayden is analysing her case at hearings in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions are considered, in London.

The judge has ruled that the girl, who comes from London, cannot be identified in media reports of the case.

He was told at a recent hearing that the teenager had begun eating and putting on weight – and that she wanted to return home to her mother.

But he has decided she should stay where she is.

He said, in a written ruling published online on Thursday, that the girl did not have the mental capacity to make decisions about her treatment or where she should live.

“(She) is still very underweight,” said the judge.

“It is undoubtedly a fact that (she) does not thrive in her mother’s household.”

He added: “Any alteration to the core arrangements presently in place is, in my judgment, pre-emptive.”

The teenager attended the most recent hearing and Mr Justice Hayden had encouraged her to have some food and break rules on eating in court.

Court staff tell people not to bring food into hearings and to drink only water.

But Mr Justice Hayden told the girl: “Have some food if you want to. I won’t mind. I’ve seen senior barristers, who probably should know better, eating sweeties in court.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Nick Ansell / PA Wire.