gave psychiatric patient murderer “too much liberty"
gave “too much liberty” to a secure psychiatric unit
patient who went on to murder a member of the public.
Finnegan, a 50-year-old former banker, was cycling through Richmond
Park in London on September 2, 2004, when he was attacked at random
by psychiatric patient John Barrett and stabbed to death.
Despite a history of violence, Barrett had the day before been allowed
to walk out of the secure unit at Springfield psychiatric hospital,
which is run by South
West London and St George's Mental Health Trust.
much liberty was given to John Barrett, in spite of indications
both immediate and historical that John Barrett was high risk,"
read an independent inquiry's report released last week.
The report found serious failures by South West London and St George's
Mental Health Trust.
inquiry found, too much consideration was given to "rehabilitating"
Barrett and too little to public safety.
The inquiry, chaired by the mental health lawyer Robert Robinson,
recommended an external team be appointed urgently to overhaul the
unit's care of dangerous psychiatric patients.
Finnegan's killing is only one of a number of violent incidents
involving patients at the hospital.
A report is pending into the random killing of Matthew Carter, a
fitness instructor, by another Springfield patient in February.
Peter Houghton, the trust's new chief executive, said "a great
deal of change" had since been implemented.
inquiry report into care and treatment of John Barrett (pdf)
Nov 9, 2006: Are homicides by people
with mental health problems preventable? Tony Maden believes
recommendations he submitted to the government could result in a
cut in homicide rate by psychiatric patients of 10 per cent in five
years. Is he realistic?
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