Published: 05/08/2004, Volume II4, No. 5917 Page 9
The NHS, social services and the voluntary sector in Kent have been criticised for how they dealt with a mentally ill man who stabbed another resident to death in supported housing.
Nineteen-year-old Joe Janes had a history of violence that included threatening his mother and injuring another man with an axe, before he killed Joseph Day in the charity-run home in Folkestone in July 2001. He had been in contact with mental health services in the area for 16 months.
Mr Janes, who suffered from schizophrenia and abused drink and drugs, was described by an inquiry as having 'an unpredictable capacity for violence, which could be extreme'.While receiving inpatient treatment, he continued to use drugs and alcohol.
Despite the previous attack he was allowed to leave a mental health unit for the home, run by Rethink. He had been there just three days when he stabbed the 22-year-old. He later pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and is detained under the Mental Health Act.
An inquiry set up by East Kent health authority, and carried forward by Kent and Medway strategic health authority, criticised the way health and social services had dealt with Mr Janes. It found:
nFailures to make fully informed judgements on the risks posed by Mr Janes.
No easily accessible risk analysis was available to staff dealing with his care. There was inadequate sharing of information.
Mr Janes' case was a complex one but on occasions was dealt with by inexperienced and junior staff.
Drugs and alcohol service staff were not involved in his care, despite his continuing misuse.
Kent and Medway SHA chief executive Candy Morris said there were 'hard lessons which we are determined to fully take on board'. Much had changed since the incident.
The NHS and Kent social services have apologised to the families involved, as has Rethink, which took the decision to admit Mr Janes to the home.