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Doctor appears in court after woman died during emergency caesarean

An NHS doctor has appeared in court charged with the manslaughter of a primary school teacher who died after an emergency Caesarean.

Frances Cuppuccini, who was 30 years old, died at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury after giving birth to her son.

Today consultant Errol Cornish stood in the dock, alongside Glenn Douglas, the chief executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust - the health body accused of corporate manslaughter - a legal first.

Andrea Thomas reports.

Doctor appears in court after mother dies during emergency caesarean

Frances Cappuccini died during an emergency caesarean Credit: ITV Meridian

An NHS doctor has appeared in court charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of a primary school teacher who died after giving birth by emergency Caesarean section.

Errol Cornish stood in the dock alongside Glenn Douglas, chief executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, which is facing a landmark prosecution over Frances Cappuccini's death.

Mrs Cappuccini, 30, died at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury, Kent, after giving birth to her son by emergency Caesarean section on October 9 2012.

Last month Kent Police said a decision had been taken to prosecute 67-year-old father-of-two Cornish, along with Dr Nadeem Azeez, 52, for the gross negligence manslaughter of Mrs Cappuccini, who was married to husband Tom.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, which runs Tunbridge Wells Hospital, is accused of corporate manslaughter - the first time an NHS trust has been charged with the offence since its introduction in 2008. At Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court today, on behalf of the Trust, Douglas, 56, and South African-born consultant anaesthetist Cornish, of Holmbury Park, Bromley, south east London, spoke only to confirm their name and date of birth during a first hearing in the case.

The case was committed to Maidstone Crown Court, with a preliminary hearing listed for May 22.

Kent Police said an arrest warrant has been issued for Azeez, formerly of Chestnut Avenue, Tunbridge Wells, who has returned to Pakistan. Locals said Mrs Cappuccini was a "much-loved and dedicated" teacher at Offham School in Kent, which she joined as a newly-qualified teacher, taking reception and early year classes.

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