The actions of a paranoid schizophrenic from Littlehampton who stabbed a stranger to death were "neither predictable nor preventable", an investigation concluded today.Well, blow me down with a feather!
Father-of-three Daniel Quelch, 34, suffered 82 knife wounds during the frenzied attack in front of two of his children which began as he slept at his parents' bungalow in August 2007.A totally unexpected sudden event?
Benjamin Frankum was arrested at the scene, telling police he had been sent by MI5 to kill Mr Quelch, but he was ruled unfit to stand trial for murder.
Frankum, who had been in and out of hospital with mental illness since 2001, was ordered to be detained in Broadmoor Hospital, where he remains.Ah. As expected, then.
NHS South East Coast commissioned a report by Verita into the care and treatment of Frankum - named only in the report as Mr X - by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.Were there no warning signs, then?
At the time of Mr Quelch's death, Frankum was living in a shared house in Littlehampton, supported by a housing association after moving out of a residential home in May 2007 where he had been cared for since leaving hospital in the summer of 2006.
Frankum was diagnosed with "treatment resistant" schizophrenia but over the years doctors had identified a combination of medications which helped control some of his symptoms.
Indeed, there were…
During the summer of 2007, Frankum's family, the housing association and care services were "increasingly concerned" about his behaviour, according to the report.Well, I bet none of them lived anywhere near the unit, so it’s not like they were at risk when something went wrong.
But professional teams decided the situation did not justify sectioning him.
The investigators said that although they identified a "number of failings and weaknesses in the actions of the statutory services during 2007" they could find "no link" between those and Frankum's actions on August 23, 2007.In which case, why are we employing these ‘professionals’? Because we seem to be paying Ferrari prices, yet getting a rickety old deathtrap Ford service…
"For the reasons that we set out in detail in the report we consider that the homicide was neither predictable nor preventable," it concluded.
"We conclude that there was no reason for the professionals to predict that Mr X was a risk to others.
"We consider that nothing professionals should have done would have prevented the homicide."
And how is it that a woman who might be putting merely her own health at risk is treated like a wild animal , to be sedated and restrained for unwanted treatment, yet a cannabis-addicted loon (at least, according to the 'Mail' ) is cleared to roam the community despite known problems with his dosages?
It stated that the failure to carry out a formal risk assessment when Frankum moved into the housing association property - which did not have staff based on-site - was "poor practice" but said it accepted the move was the "right move at the time".Ah, the ‘risk assessment’. Employed speedily on trivial matters by local councils, totally left out of the equation by psychiatrists when dealing with potentially-violent patients…
Following the publication, Mr Quelch's parents Ernie, 66, and Barbara, 62, - joined by elder son Robert Quelch, 42 - described how their son's death had devastated their lives and said they believed the inquiry was a "missed opportunity" to prevent further loss of life by mentally ill people.Good luck. You’ll need it.
"We believe this is a deeply flawed inquiry," Mrs Quelch said. "It does not meet best practice, it did not talk to all the possible witnesses, it is in part inaccurate, and some of the findings are clearly not substantiated by the available evidence.
"But we are determined as a family to do everything we can to ensure that, as far as possible, no other family has to go through what our family has had suffer and endure."
Personally, I don't think anything will change until each potentially-dangerous mental patient cleared to roam free is provided with the name and home address of the chap or lass agreeing to their release and told that, in case of psychotic breakdown, they should take it up with them...