Nicholas Hall represented the family of an elderly man who was killed by his neighbour twenty hours after the police received an email to remove residents from the area. The assailant, who has since been detained in a secure mental health unit, was known to both mental health services and the police prior to the attack.
The inquest, held before the Acting Senior Coroner of Bedfordshire and Luton, lasted one week and considered evidence from the assailant’s GP, medical professionals, and the police.
Among the many issues considered at the inquest, was an email sent to the police the day before the attack from the assailant which suggested that his immediate neighbours were in danger living so close to his house and should leave the area. It also stated that his lodger was at risk and should leave his house immediately.
The Coroner considered evidence from police witnesses on whether such text constituted a threat to kill, which would give rise to police powers of entry into the individual’s home and arrest.
The case required a close examination of the mental health services policies, and the police’s procedures with respect to categorising risk and forming an appropriate response.
The Coroner found that, although there were failings on behalf of both parties, he could not conclude that any earlier action would have resulted in a different outcome.
The Coroner heard about the recent creation of the multi-disciplinary Street Triage team which enables faster response times and better agency cooperation.
To read about the case in the national press, click here.