Richard’s parents believed that what had happened to him was the doctors’ fault. They thought that if the doctors had done their job properly, Richard would have been normal. But they never thought of trying to get money from the hospital. Then, in 1994, they read a newspaper story about a twenty-eight-year-old man who had been hurt while he was being born. Many years later this man’s lawyers had gone to court and got money from the hospital.

After they read this story, Richard’s parents decided they would go to court too. They won and they were given over £3 million. Joan and Sidney used the money to buy a larger house and to pay people to look after Richard. They continued to live in the new house with Richard but they kept their old house so they could spend their weekends there and have some time to themselves.

After they got the money, Joan and Sidney didn’t have to worry any more about what would happen to Richard when they were too old to look after him. Looking back, they said they felt that, although their lives had been difficult, they had been happier with Richard than they would have been without him. Joan said that, for her and Sidney, Richard was still a beautiful boy who had brought warmth and laughter into their lives.

- information from: The Guardian, (London), 02.04.25, (Esther Addley); The Guardian, (London), 02.01.14, (Clare Dyer); What’s New Archive, (

run around:
run from one place to another

act; (your behaviour is what you do)

expecting a baby

go dry:
become dry

was the doctors’ fault:
the doctors were responsible for the damage

looking back:
thinking about the past