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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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NHS defends discharging Cumbrian axeman killer

The NHS has defended its decision to discharge a suicidal killer from hospital two days before he axed his mum and sister to death.

John Jenkin photo
John Jenkin

Related: Cumbrian axe killer's suicide bid

John Jenkin, 24, will be sentenced later this month at Preston Crown Court after pleading guilty to two counts of manslaughter on Tuesday.

Jenkin had being facing murder charges after killing Alice McMeekin, 58, Katie Jenkin, 20, and their pet border collie at the family home in Newton Street, Millom, on June 8 last year.

However, the charges were reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder by psychiatrists.

Jenkin had attempted suicide on June 6 by taking co-codamol, two LSD tablets, drinking whisky and trying to drown himself in the Duddon Estuary near Port Millom.

When that failed he had tried to slash his wrists with pieces of broken seashell.

After he was spotted by two witnesses, police were called and he was taken to Dane Garth mental health unit in the grounds of Furness General Hospital, Barrow. After an hour and a half assessment by a psychiatric nurse, he was found to be of medium risk of “grandiosity and worthlessness” and of medium risk of misusing drugs.

Yesterday Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Dane Garth, said: “We can confirm that prior to the incident occurring John Jenkin was seen by our liaison service.

“The assessment conducted was thorough and steps taken were appropriate to the assessed needs at that time.”

Cumbria Police said a domestic homicide review is underway, with input from all agencies involved, and is due to be completed in the next few months.

The trust said: “We have conducted an internal review and will contribute to the domestic homicide review to ensure all agencies learn what lessons they can from this very tragic case.”

Councillor Fee Wilson, Millom town council’s representative on Cumbria NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There remain serious questions to be answered about this case. Grave concerns have been expressed by the council and we would hope a thorough review takes place.

“I don’t want to see blame;what everybody would like to see is how a tragedy like this can be avoided in the future.

“My thoughts are with the family of Alice and Katie; I’m sure they are experiencing ongoing distress over what happened.”

The court will hear from psychiatrists who examined Jenkin and Mr Tony Cross QC, prosecuting, is expected to outline the details of the attack.

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