Feedback from live tweeting Sasha’s inquest

In April and May 2019 I live-tweeted the inquest into the death of Sasha Forster. You can read a little about Sasha in this twitter thread here. The funding to cover Sasha’s inquest was part of an Ideas and Pioneers grant awarded to me by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, to explore the impact and future business model of my open justice work from coronial courts.

I had explicitly wished to try live-tweeting an inquest involving someone under the care of mental health services, to explore whether there was appetite and interest in live tweeting inquests other than those of learning disabled people. I am indebted to Sasha’s family who allowed me to share Sasha’s life and death with the world @SashaInquest. After Sasha’s inquest concluded I conducted an online survey to collect feedback, and I’ve collated the responses into a short report that you can download here if interested:

Two ballet shoes hang from the branches of a tree. They have the words pressure and perfection written on them.

The report introduces Sasha, her inquest, the respondents to the survey, and what they said. It discusses who responded, their reasons for following Sasha’s inquest and potential resources as a result of live tweeting inquests more generally. Also discussed are obscuring drug names, trigger warnings and blocking accounts when requested. Concerns about live tweeting Sasha’s inquest are discussed, along with ideas for improving the safety or experience of those following the live tweets. The possibility of tweeting future inquests into the deaths of those using mental health services is also covered.

A repeated feature of the feedback was concern for Sasha’s family, I’m not sure everyone was aware I had their explicit permission. When I first shared the raw data with Sasha’s mother, Angela, she kindly agreed to write a blog post sharing their experience which I’ve also published today and you can read here.

The Coroner issued three Prevention of Future Death reports after Sasha’s inquest concluded. You can read these and the responses to them here.

If you choose to read the report please be aware it contains people’s thoughts around live tweeting a death from suicide. All additional thoughts, comments and discussion is very welcome. Thank you.

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