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Christina's family demand answers why warnings over killer were ignored
3:07pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in Local
THE family of Christina Edkins are demanding answers why a paranoid schizophrenic with a history of violence was allowed to roam the streets to kill their daughter.
Despite a mental health doctor in prison recommending Phillip Simelane be hospitalised for his own and the public’s safety months later he was allowed to leave HMP Birmingham without restrictions or mental health provision.
Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust and the prison service are all now holding independent inquiries to determine what went wrong.
Simelane also had “mental health markers” on his police file which flagged up risks of suicide, self harm, violence and weapons after he attacked his mother with a knife in May 2012.
Christina’s great uncle Chris Melia said: “How he came to be wandering around in society to do this crime is a big question.
“He was identified as someone who needed some level of supervision, management or help to get back in society and this did not happen.
“If people were saying he needs help when he leaves prison and he got progressively worse, and he had held a knife to his mother's stomach then why was nothing done?
“Why was he let out of prison with no conditions to no fixed abode?
“We want to know what comes out of the investigation and what might be done so this does not happen again.”
He said: "Mental health problems cannot detract from personal responsibility for this horrific crime but failure to address psychotic conditions drastically increases the risk of offending and reoffending.
"I have met with the policing minister this week to look at ways that police, prisons and the probation service can work better with social services and the health service so that serious mental health issues can be identified, diagnosed and treated earlier and more effectively.
"Serious questions must be asked about why warnings and recommendations regarding Phillip Simelane seem to have been ignored, with horrific consequences.“
He added: “As well as cracking down on illegal knives all agencies involved need to look at what went wrong and how they can improve early intervention and mental health care."
Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust admitted “lessons needed to be learned.”
A spokesman said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Christina’s family for what was an unprovoked attack on an innocent member of the public.
“Phillip Simelane had previously been in receipt of care from a number of healthcare providers over a period of years.
“Our trust’s involvement was in the form of prison-based mental health assessments during a prison term for an unrelated offence in 2012. “What is clear, is that there are lessons to be learned for us and others involved in the care of Phillip Simelane to prevent such a tragedy happening again in the future.
“As a trust we are currently leading an external review, commissioned by Birmingham Cross City Clinical Commissioning Group, on behalf of all the parties involved and intend to report on our findings in December 2013.
“We would not want to speculate on the outcome of this review, but we are clear that this will be an externally reviewed, thorough investigation and we will seek to learn from and fully implement these findings across the healthcare providers involved.”
Simelane's mother had repeatedy tried to get help for her son since he was 14 and he began showing symptoms of severe mental illness.
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