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Findings are published today of an independent investigation into the care and treatment of a mental health service user, James in Essex. Sincerest sympathies are offered to all the people who have been affected by this tragic event.
James had a diagnosis of mental and behavioural disorder due to the use of alcohol, paranoid schizophrenia and generalised anxiety disorder.
On the evening of 15 December 2017, James killed his partner, Heidi. He had been a patient of North Essex Partnership Trust, now Essex Partnership University Trust, since 2000.
James was found unfit to plead in January 2019 and was given a hospital order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983, with a Section 41 restriction on discharge. He remains in a secure mental health hospital.
An independent investigation report into the care and treatment James received is published today, alongside a Domestic Homicide Review into the death of Heidi, commissioned by Braintree Community Safety Partnership.
Catherine Morgan, regional chief nurse for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the East of England, said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the people who have been affected by this tragic incident.
“When events like this occur, however rare, it is important the NHS works together to learn lessons and make improvements, where necessary, to ensure the continued safety of patients and the wider public.”
NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned this independent investigation, which follows the NHS England Serious Incident Framework (March 2015) and Department of Health guidance on Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the investigation of serious incidents in mental health services.
The independent investigation has been conducted in co-operation with the Domestic Homicide Review into the death of Heidi, which has been commissioned by Braintree Community Safety Partnership.
The main purpose of an independent investigation is not to investigate the circumstances of the offence, but to ensure that mental health care related homicides are investigated in such a way that lessons can be learned effectively to prevent recurrence.
The investigation process may also identify areas where improvements to services might be required which could help prevent similar incidents occurring.
The report authors made seven recommendations for Essex Partnership University Trust under themes of: patient care, service delivery and Trust oversight.
A full copy of the independent investigation report is available on the NHS England and NHS Improvement – East of England website.