East Ham optometrist ‘would have referred boy’, court told

Honey Rose

Honey Rose - Credit: Archant

An eye expert accused of failing to spot serious abnormalities in the eyes of a schoolboy who later died has told a court she had not seen photographic images of his eyes which revealed he had a serious problem and could have been looking at images of someone else.

Vincent Barker, known as Vinnie, died on July 13, 2012 (Picture: Suffolk Police/PA Wire)

Vincent Barker, known as Vinnie, died on July 13, 2012 (Picture: Suffolk Police/PA Wire) - Credit: PA

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday, Honey Rose, who was working as a locum at Boots opticians in Upper Brook Street, Ipswich, said if she had seen retinal images of eight-year-old Vinnie Barker’s eyes on February 15, 2012 she would have immediately referred him to hospital.

Rose, of Milton Avenue, East Ham, said she had a problem accessing retinal images in the consulting room at Boots and asked a colleague, whose name she did not remember, to put the images up on a screen.

She said she raised the problem about viewing the images in the consulting room with colleagues at the branch the day before Vinnie’s examination and had asked them for help, but all they had done was check the wiring.

She raised the issue again on February 15 when she arrived at work to find she still could not view the images in the consulting room.

Asked by her barrister Ian Stern QC if she had seen the retinal images of Vinnie’s eyes taken on February 15, 2012, which showed abnormalities to the optic discs, she replied: “No”.

She said she could not be sure if the images she had seen were images that had been taken in 2011 when there were no problems with Vinnie’s eyes or if she had been shown someone else’s images. She said she had not checked the name of the patient on the screen.

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Rose told the court when she shone a light into Vinnie’s eyes with an opthalmoscope he had shown slight photophobia – an aversion to light –and had closed his eyes.

She said: “He wouldn’t look in the direction where I wanted. He was getting distracted. I tried to reduce the light, but things didn’t get better.”

Rose, 35, has denied Vinnie’s manslaughter by gross negligence on July 13, 2012.

Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, alleged she failed to notice “obvious abnormalities” in both Vinnie’s eyes during a routine eye test and he died five months later.

He claimed at the time of his examination by Rose in 2012 they would have been “obvious to any competent optometrist” who examined them.

Mr Rees alleged if Vinnie, of Henley Road and who attended Dale Hall Primary School, Ipswich, had been urgently referred his medical condition would have been identified and successfully treated.

Before being seen by Rose, Vinnie had been examined in January 2010 and February 2011 by different optometrists and nothing untoward had been found. The trial continues.