Mentally Disturbed Offenders: Homicide

Health written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people convicted of murder in each year since 1990 had received specialist mental health care services in the 12 months prior to their conviction.

Photo of Phil Hope Phil Hope Minister of State (the East Midlands), Regional Affairs, Minister of State (the East Midlands), Department of Health

Precise annual data on the number of homicides or serious injuries in England committed by people with mental illness is not collected centrally. However, the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicides reports 50-70 homicides per year in England and Wales committed by current mental health patients and by others who had been in touch with mental health services in the 12 months prior to the homicide.

Most severely mentally ill people are not violent to others and very few are a risk to the general population. Independent investigations of homicides involving people with a severe mental illness have found that not all such incidents are foreseeable or preventable.

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Annotations

Alix Cull
Posted on 31 Mar 2010 3:36 pm (Report this annotation)

It is my opinion that some register be kept of people with severe and enduring mental illness by the Mental Health Services, and that G.Ps should have a flag up system for them.
I am pleased that you are aware that there are many mentally ill people who are not violent, also some become very isolated, and homeless.
It should be made known that this group of people are disabled, and should qualify for disablement allowance, and their carers for care allowance.If they are living with families and receiving treatment in the community, the families are the peole who can first identify any signs that the patient is heading for relapse, and have knowledge of how to speedily reach emergency professional care before any tragedies arise.
www.schizophrenia.co.uk is an excellent site for carers and patients, although some patients do not recognise that they have an illness.
In today's debate in the House of Commons there was only slight metion of mental illness, and referred mostly to children with mental health problems, and to dementia. Schizophrenia usually occurs beteen the ages of about 17/25 and is a fluctuating condition, when relaps occurs if the patient does not understand or accept their need for a continuum of care and of medication. It should not be confused with drug addiction, although cannabis can spark it off in vulnerable subjects.
I should be grateful if this could be brought to the notice of the House, as when the Mental health Services (understaffed and underfunded) fall short of the continuum of care required the media pick on this and it makes sensational headlines, and tragedy both for patient, their families, and any other persons involved. These people are ill and not criminals, although there are a number of cases who require secure accommodation, which in my opinion should be small units. Rehabilitation has long been neglected, and the majority of patients are unable to "fit in" to the main workforce, although they do require some occupation.
I thank you for your attention in this matter, and look forward to Government action.

Alix Cull
Posted on 31 Mar 2010 3:36 pm

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