Anna Soubry MP: “Death of Stapleford Man Could Have Been Prevented”

Anna Soubry, Member of Parliament for Broxtowe, has said the killing of Stapleford man John McGrath could and should have been prevented. John was killed by his grandson, William Barnard, who was suffering from a mental illness and was supposedly in the care of Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust. A report published today identifies six occasions in the weeks before John’s killing when William should have been assessed under the Mental Health Act.

Anna said, “The report reveals a systemic failure to care for and protect William Barnard. It was clear he would stop taking his medication and try to avoid working with his mental health workers, but there was no plan to deal with this situation. William stopped taking powerful medication and so he became profoundly unwell. His deterioration was clear to everyone who met him and his family and people from the Stapleford community alerted the people who were meant to be looking after him. Poor communication, pitiful supervision and management meant no-one took charge of William’s care. Decisions were made but not put into action, important information was not properly recorded and on at least six occasions in the weeks before John was killed William should have been assessed.”

The Broxtowe MP added, “I disagree with the SHA’s report that had William been assessed, there is no guarantee he would have been sectioned – in my view he was so ill he would have been, if only to protect himself. William needed to be placed in a secure environment and if he had been he would not have attacked his grandparents. John McGrath’s death was avoidable as was the attack on Mabel McGrath, William’s grandmother.”

“Looking to the future, we need to make sure everyone involved with the care of the mentally ill learns from these mistakes. I have written to the Minister, Paul Burstow, who is already well familiar with this case following a debate I called in July 2010. I have asked Paul to give an assurance that mental health teams throughout the NHS will be familiar with the report and its recommendations. Some good must come out of this terrible tragedy and improvements in the care and treatment of the mentally ill may be of some consolation to John McGrath’s family.”