Mum who lost daughter, 14, during May 2020 lockdown too devastated to say the PM's name

11 January 2022, 18:24 | Updated: 11 January 2022, 19:00

Pavan Sagoo passed away in the same month Downing Street held a party for staff.
Pavan Sagoo passed away in the same month Downing Street held a party for staff. Picture: Sangita Sagoo/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

A mother has told LBC of her devastation after losing her 14-year-old daughter in May 2020 during the first Covid-19 lockdown, weeks before a 'bring your own booze party' at No10.

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Sangita Sagoo called in to LBC in tears earlier today and told Shelagh Fogarty of the traumatic events of her daughter's death, and how her parents were not allowed to attend their granddaughter's funeral due to Covid-19 rules.

Bereft mother Ms Sagoo went further, saying that even sacking Boris Johnson as PM wouldn't be enough as it wouldn't bring her daughter Pavan, 14, back.

Such was the level of her devastation that in a heartbreaking interview, she couldn't even bring herself to utter the Prime Minister's name, referring to the PM only as 'he' and 'him'.

Days after the death of her daughter, a "bring your own booze" party was held in the garden of No10, with at least 100 people invited. Boris Johnson and wife Carrie are both understood to have been present.

Her gut-wrenching account comes after the prime minister failed to appear in the Commons today to answer an urgent question about the party.

"Even if he resigned it won't matter," Ms Sagoo said.

"It's hard at any time, but when you're following rules and the people setting the rules aren't, it's hard to comprehend.

"We're still grieving, but with the recent news it's more frustration and anger than upset."

She told Shelagh on air: "There's nothing that anyone can do - not even an apology - that could take us back in time and change that."

As Pavan was undergoing hospital treatment in 2020 for a non-covid related condition, only one of her parents was allowed to see her at a time. The other was forced to wait in the car outside. To begin with they could switch places each week.

As she became more seriously ill, she was moved to the cardiac intensive care unit. And towards the end of April 2020 she became critically ill.

On the day she passed, her father chose to leave the hospital so Sangita could be at her bedside as she died.

After they changed places, Pavan slipped away after around 15 minutes.

"I was shouting and begging for them to please let [my husband] in," Ms Sagoo said. But the hospital refused.

She told Shelagh: "She has two sisters and their biggest question to us is 'Why couldn't we see her? We wish we could have seen her.' and I have no answer for them.

"Not a single minister, I bet, will have an answer for me."

After Pavan died, things did not get any easier for the family.

Ms Sagoo had to tell her parents the news from the bottom of their garden, unable to hug them and support her when she needed them most.

"It's traumatic," Ms Sagoo said. "Nobody wants their child to go before them.

"It was unprecedented times but we still followed the rules."

"Her grandparents couldn't even attend her funeral because we followed the rules," Ms Sagoo told Shelagh.

"We just wanted to be careful because we had been in hospital with her and I didn't want anyone else to catch Covid if I had it."

Eldest daughter Kiran turned 18 at the end of that same month, and she was instead suffering the loss of her sister.

"We're going to hold this forever," Sangita said.

The Sagoo family: Sangita, Kaval, Kiran, Pava and Jeevan.
The Sagoo family: Sangita, Kaval, Kiran, Pava and Jeevan. Picture: Sangita Sagoo

If one thing gave the family peace following Pavan's passing, it was the hospital's decision to change their rules about visitors in honour of her.

"It didn't change what happened to us," Ms Sagoo said. "But I didn't want any other family to go through it."

Ms Sagoo paid tribute to her daughter, saying: "We miss her so much. We miss her smile.

"She was the most beautiful child and I can't believe she's gone. I wish I could turn back time.

"We miss her cheekiness and funny stories - they are what makes us smile now."

Pavan's sisters also remembered her in a touching tribute.

Jeevan, her younger sister, said: "She was my bravest role model."

Meanwhile Kiran - the eldest - said: "I treasure Pavan as if she were my own daughter. She is the light of our family."

Mr Johnson failed to appear in the Commons on Tuesday, in response to an urgent question from Labour on the partygate debate, with MP Michael Ellis instead standing in for the Prime Minister.

Tearful MPs shared harrowing stories in the chamber, devastated at the Covid death toll while the Government held gatherings.

However, Mr Ellis stood firm on the view that an investigation was under way on the series of allegations.

The Metropolitan Police has also confirmed that it is in contact with the Cabinet Office over the "bring your own booze party".

It has led to growing anger among Brits, with a snap poll from Savanta ComRes finding that 66 per cent of adults in the UK felt Mr Johnson should resign over the allegations.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman refused to comment on the issue earlier in the day and the leader's next steps are unclear.

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross has said that the No10 party was "utterly despicable."

Asked today if Mr Johnson should quit if it he was at the party, Ross replied: "Yes, because you cannot put in place these rules, you cannot be the head of the government that is asking people to follow these rules and then breaking those rules yourself."

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