PERFORMANCE: A mental health trust has been criticised for failing to consider the safety of a mother who was killed by her paranoid son.
The son, referred to in the report as “AL”, was first seen by Dorset Community Health Services’ mental health team in June 2007 after he had taken an overdose of paracetomol in front of his elderly mother. For the previous two nights he had made them both sleep in the car because he was paranoid people were after him.
A few days later he was sectioned and police found carrier bags at the home he shared with his mother containing an air gun and a letter warning they would both meet “awful” deaths.
AL appeared to health professionals to be progressing well over the following year, however he was suffering severe mood swings and had stopped taking his medication.
In June 2008 he killed his mother on the way home from a meal out to celebrate his birthday, hitting her over the head with a blunt instrument and strangling her.
The report concluded the care for AL was appropriate but mental health services had not considered the risk his paranoid behaviour posed to his mother.
However, the report praised the trust’s systems for learning and disseminating the lessons of the tragedy and found most of the issues raised had been addressed.
The mental health services provided by NHS Dorset’s provider arm were taken on by Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust in July 2011.
In a statement nurse executive director Tim Archer said the trust was “committed to acting on the lessons learnt to prevent this type of incident from happening again”.
17 January 2011