A catalogue of failures in the care of a mental health patient who stabbed a pregnant mother-of-five to death have been highlighted in a new report.
Benjamin Holiday, 25, a paranoid schizophrenic, killed Tina Stevenson in Hull after missing his medication. An independent investigation found his mental health problem was “under-treated” and his condition should have been “more assertively managed”.
Humber Mental Health Trust has apologised to Miss Stevenson’s family.
Miss Stevenson, 31, and her unborn twins died after she was stabbed in the back by Holiday on Wellsted Street. Holiday, who said he had no recollection of the attack, pleaded guilty to her manslaughter at Hull Crown Court in May 2006 and was detained in a secure hospital.
After the case, his mother Christine blamed the incident on the Humber Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust, saying he had not received the correct care and medication. The sentencing judge said Benjamin Holiday was “clearly very disturbed”
Two months before Miss Stevenson was killed, Holiday was taken into a secure psychiatric unit for assessment. The report said that was a “missed opportunity” to keep him in care because he needed treatment. It also said that at times Holiday was able to dictate his own levels of treatment.
Trust chief executive David Snowdon, speaking after the report was published, said: “We apologised to the family and friends of Tina Stevenson for their loss and for the distress caused to them as a result of this tragic incident. “We also apologised to Benjamin Holiday’s family, especially his mother, Christina Holiday, for the distress caused to them.”
Mr Snowdon said the trust took the report “very seriously” and said lessons had “already been learned”. The trust also apologised after being criticised over the care of a mentally-ill man who killed his elderly mother in 2003.
Michael Torrie, then aged 43, cut his 82-year-old mother Ivy’s throat at their home in Pocklington, East Yorkshire, after a “rapid reduction” in his medication, the report said. Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said Torrie was “extremely ill” and “probably not in control of what he was doing”.
She told BBC Radio Five Live: “He’s lost his freedom and his mother has been killed in the most horrific way and all of that could have been prevented.” Mrs Wallace said Holiday should not have been able to dictate his own treatment.
She said: “He didn’t want people to interfere and yes, we ought to respect the rights of a mentally ill person, but not if they are out living in the community and not if they are a risk to themselves or others.”