Sister of woman killed by stepson in Winchcombe says NHS Trust played part in her death
FAILINGS of a mental health trust have been blamed for playing a part in the death of a woman who was killed by her stepson.
Shea MacLean killed Dorothy Shepherd, 59, at their Winchcombe home during an unprovoked attack in July 2010.
Paranoid schizophrenic MacLean, 19, had been receiving care from Gloucestershire's mental health body, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, when the attack took place.
Mrs Shepherd's sister, Rosemarie Whittaker, said the trust failed to warn Shea's family that he had violent tendencies. "I believe that the right course of action would have been to admit Shea to hospital to stabilise his position, and then he would not have been in a position to kill my sister," she said.
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Mrs Whittaker was speaking after an independent report by NHS South of England found that the attack "could not have been predicted".
However, the report said the risk assessment carried out by the trust was poor and that there was poor monitoring of MacLean's medication compliance. Its internal review of the incident was also found to be flawed.
Mrs Whittaker, 59, said the report revealed "a catalogue of errors" where trust procedures were not followed or were simply wrong.
"If you put all those things together, they add up to huge inadequacies in the way that Shea was cared for and the family was supported," she said.
"The report makes it very clear that Shea would seriously assault someone at some time.
" If that had ever been explained to my sister, I believe that the family would have been insistent that Shea was admitted to hospital where he could get the care that he needed to stabilise his condition.
"The information was not given to the family. The family were left to struggle at home and the consequence was that my sister died."
Following the attack, MacLean pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and he is currently subject to a restriction order under Section 41 of the Mental Health Act.
Following the report, the trust's medical director, Dr Paul Winterbottom, said: "We are clear that there are some important lessons for us to learn.
"We are determined to learn these lessons and have developed a comprehensive action plan directly addressing the report's findings and recommendations."