NHS blunders led to stabbing of woman by Schizophrenic

Schizophrenic freed to stab woman after NHS blunders

Danger: Samuel Reid-Wentworth had fantasies of killing young women

29 June 2012

A paranoid schizophrenic repeatedly stabbed a young woman in a supermarket after three opportunities were missed to assess the danger he posed, according to a report published today.

Samuel Reid-Wentworth, who harboured fantasies about killing young women, inflicted more than 20 wounds on Lucy Yates with a pocket knife six weeks after being discharged from a mental health unit.

He had spotted her from a bus in Littlehampton, West Sussex, and followed her into a Somerfield store.

Miss Yates, then 22, survived the attack, in September 2008.

Reid-Wentworth was locked up under the Mental Health Act by a judge at Lewes crown court the following February, when he was also 22, for attempted murder and is being detained indefinitely at Broadmoor.

Investigators Verita said three major opportunities were missed when he was being cared for by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The first was when he was first admitted to psychiatric services in August 2007, after assaulting two women strangers on the same day, each time involving a weapon. “The motivation underlying the assaults and the significance of his associated symptoms were never fully explored,” the report says.

The second opportunity was when he was transferred to the rehabilitation and recovery unit after five months on the acute admission ward. The report says: “Assessment of risk was incomplete and the potential seriousness of the assaults was still not fully appreciated.”

The third opportunity was when he was readmitted to the acute mental health ward after the re-emergence of psychotic symptoms.

“In addition, [he] had expressed dissatisfaction with his medication and had asked to change it. The management plan contained no specific strategy to manage the increased level of risk of harm to others that [he] posed,” the report says.

Dr Tim Ojo, executive medical director for the trust, said it had “taken all necessary action to implement the lessons learned … from this report”.

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