An Irish psychiatrist has been suspended with immediate effect for 12 months from the UK medical register for "catastrophic" failings in the care of a vulnerable young man, which resulted in his death in 2013.

Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, drowned in the bath on 4 July 2013 at the STATT mental health facility in Oxfordshire, where Dr Valerie Murphy had ultimate responsibility for his care.

Dr Murphy is employed by the Health Service Executive and as an honorary lecturer with UCC. The finding of impairment does not apply to her practice in Ireland.

The HSE has said that it was in contact with the Irish Medical Council and would continue to liaise with the council as the regulatory body as to any appropriate steps that may be required in this instance.

The cause of Connor's death was drowning whilst having an epileptic seizure. 

At the time of his death, Connor was observed in the bath at intervals of 15 minutes apart. He had shown signs of having had epileptic seizures on a number of occasions shortly before his death.

The tribunal found Dr Murphy did not "consider the implications of allowing him to have a bath on his own with staff observing him every 15 minutes".

Connor had also been prescribed the drug Risperidone, which can increase the risk of seizures.

The tribunal found that Dr Murphy "failed to explain the benefits, risks and side effects" of the drug.

The 12-month suspension was announced after findings of "serious misconduct" were made against Dr Murphy last November by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal at a fitness to practise hearing.

The tribunal described the case as being at "the top end of seriousness".

Dr Murphy told the Medical Practitioner’s Tribunal in Manchester that she "took [her] eye off the ball" at a time when Connor died under her care in the STATT in Oxfordshire.

The tribunal found Dr Murphy had, until its fitness to practise hearings, "attempted to deflect responsibility to blame others".

In a statement prepared for this week’s hearing, Dr Murphy said: "I believe that part of my difficulty facing up to my role in this case is that it involves me facing up to the fact that I am responsible for causing the death of a much-loved child and causing so much pain for a mother and family."

Dr Murphy expressed regret that she had not apologised to Connor's family until this week.

Under-cross examination at the tribunal, Dr Murphy said her failure apologise since 2013 was "unacceptable".

The tribunal described Dr Murphy’s development of insight as "a sea change" since its last hearing in November 2017" when it found she had engaged in "serious misconduct of the kind that would bring the medical profession into disrepute".

UCC and the HSE told RTÉ in November they were aware of the finding of impairment to Dr Murphy.

The HSE said that the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service had been updating Cork Kerry Community Healthcare as the hearing progresses.

A review hearing is to be held before the 12-month suspension expires.

Connor's mother, Sara Ryan, posted her reaction to the ruling online.

She said: "Over the past four years, Valerie Murphy has repeatedly failed to show any remorse and has failed to apologise to us.

"At the sanction hearing this week she apologised to the tribunal for Connor’s death. This experience has been unimaginably brutal and not unusual. Families whose loved ones die in state care are commonly re-traumatised by these processes."