Matt Hancock leaked messages: Grieving Birmingham son speaks out after losing his dad in a care home

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Charlie Williams speaks out about the leaked Whatsapp messages from former Health Secretary Matt Hancock after his dad Rex died in a care home from Covid during hte pandemic

A son whose dad died from Covid after the disease swept through his care home is fuming over Matt Hancock’s leaked messages alleging he rejected expert advice.

Charlie Williams, 55, lost his dad, Rex Williams, 85, to Covid in April 2020 when his home was ravaged by Covid during the first wave. Leaked WhatsApp messages allege the health secretary rejected advice to test people going into care homes. The allegations, leaked from WhatsApp messages, which emerged this week, have been strongly denied by Matt Hancock.

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Charlie said he received a call from his father’s home to say his dad had suspected Covid. Then his condition rapidly deteriorated and he died four days later. Charlie wasn’t able to be with his dying father and he had to fight for him to be tested for the virus by a coroner after he passed.

According to the heartbroken son, his dad’s death was wholly preventable and would not have happened if the government had implemented polices to protect care homes. Charlie, from Birmingham, said: “I have no doubt whatsoever - this could have been preventable with that one decision Matt Hancock made. Care homes were treated as a dumping ground for our countries most vulnerable.

“I got a call on 16 April 2020 to say my father’s condition was deteriorating with suspected Covid-19. I immediately asked him to be tested but they didn’t have the facilities to. They had no PPE whatsoever and no testing whatsoever. I was fighting to get my father tested every day - I even contacted my father’s local MP Taiwo Owatemi at the time.”

Just days later, Rex passed away on 20 April with only Charlie’s brother by his side. “It absolutely broke my family,” he said. “I’m glad the wider public can see what a disgrace our government was during a time when our country was on our knees.

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“For someone in Matt Hancock’s position to not follow science when it comes to care homes; it is a crime. 20 or 30 odd thousand died in care homes alone. My dad might have been 85, but he was the strongest man I know. He had a lot of life left in him.”

Charlie Williams with his late his dad, Rex WilliamCharlie Williams with his late his dad, Rex William
Charlie Williams with his late his dad, Rex William | Charlie Williams / SWNS

His death certificate originally stated he died from “suspected Covid” but Charlie fought to have him tested post-death - where it was proven, he said. “My dad was a very happy person,” he said.

“He was always smiling. He’d never walk past a person without saying hello. He treated everyone as his best friend. My father was happy living in a care home. He was a massive character and all the workers had a story about him. He made their day.”

Charlie is part of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families For Justice - a campaign group - and met Boris Johnson in 2021 to push for an independent inquiry. The group are campaigning for allegations of structural racism to be investigated and for a criminal investigation.

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Charlie Williams with his late his dad, Rex WilliamsCharlie Williams with his late his dad, Rex Williams
Charlie Williams with his late his dad, Rex Williams | Charlie Williams / SWNS

Rex was part of the Windrush generation and arrived in Coventry from Jamaica in the late 1950s with Charlie’s mother, Dorothy Williams, 84. He worked as a manager at a plastics company until he retired.

Charlie said: “I said it from the beginning, as far as I am concerned, there needs to be a criminal investigation that runs alongside this enquiry. This is misconduct in public office and for me this is gross negligence manslaughter. My father had a right to life. It’s a human rights violation.”

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