Drug addict’s family begged for him to be sectioned days before he killed


The family of a psychotic drug addict begged for him to be sectioned just days before he murdered a pensioner in cold blood, a report revealed today.

Drug addict's family begged for him to be sectioned days before he killed

Crazed Stephen Newton, 45, plunged a four-and-a-half inch kitchen knife into the neck and back of grandfather Philip Hendy, 75, in a completely random attack.

Mental health workers refused to section him just four days before the tragedy in April 2007 – despite pleas from his elderly mother, who he had ”bullied and threatened”.

Despite having previous convictions for violence, experts assured her he was not a risk to himself or others.

He was known to Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust for 15 years but had never been properly risk assessed, the independent by the South West Strategic Health Authority found.

The trust also kept his notes in a ”chaotic” state and failed to treat him for his long-term drug abuse, the report ruled.

But despite all the damning evidence, the report concluded that the killing could not have been ”prevented or predicted” – which has infuriated Philip Hendy’s family.

Son Julian Hendy, a documentary film maker from Leeds, said: ”Although the report highlights a string of extremely serious failures by health care workers, curiously it finds the killing was not preventable.

”We do not accept this finding. It ignores the repeated, basic failings in Newton’s care.

”We believe that had these failings not occurred, in all probability our dad would still be alive today.

”After waiting for over three and half years, we expected a thorough and professional inquiry. What we’ve got is seriously flawed.”

Newton, from Bristol, suffered paranoid delusions and just two days before the attack told two PCSOs his missing daughter had been cloned and his mother had a grave under her car.

They thought he was joking around – despite having a ”deadly serious” face and manner – and did not record the incident or take further action.

Four days earlier his terrified elderly mother begged mental health workers to section him after he told her he was Jesus Christ and forced her to drive him to buy drugs.

Newton – who lived with his mother – had previously tried to rip up her floorboards after believing there were dead bodies underneath them and ”bullied and threatened” her.

But the doctor and psychiatrist refused and told his mother that he was not deemed a risk to himself and others and she should call the police if she was worried again.

Newton followed and stabbed innocent Philip Hendy at around 8.15am on April 29 as the grandfather-of-three walked to his beloved allotment to pick up beans for Sunday lunch.

Damien Ramsey has

Tragic Philip (pictured), a father-of-three from Easton, Bristol, died on May 8 after fighting for his life in intensive care.

Amphetamine addict Newton – who had 20 previous convictions – then went on to punch Hargouindbhai Taylor, 84, twice to the ground, before he was arrested by officers.

In a rambling interview after his arrest, he ranted at officers and told them he was Prince Charles’ secret love child.

He also claimed American former president George W Bush had kidnapped his daughter and arranged for his son to have a sex change to look like Kylie Minogue.

Newton admitted manslaughter with diminished responsibility but this was rejected by a judge and he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 16 years on October 17 2008.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity SANE said: ”Stephen Newton had a history of mental illness, serial violence, and of abusing street drugs in “industrial” quantities.

”It is hard to imagine how much clearer the signs could have been.”

The 100-page report detailed Newton’s mental health care from 1990 to 2007 and showed him to persistently deny his drug use and self-diagnose himself with mental health disorders.

Throughout his treatment, doctors believed he was paranoid and depressed but was suffering more from alcohol and amphetamine abuse rather than a serious mental problem.

He repeatedly failed to attend appointments and was ”not motivated” to do anything other than lie in bed, eat and only leave his home to buy drugs.

Newton himself asked to be sectioned in October 2001 following a fracas at home but was told hospital admission was not available until he had waited for new drugs to work

He was ”very keen” to have a ”mental health label” throughout his treatment, the report found.

Numerous mental health workers noted he suffered from psychotic hallucinations but he was never risk assessed or treated for his drug and alcohol abuse.

The report highlighted ”matters of deep concern” in Newton’s care and made 20 recommendations to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

Hazel Watson, director of nursing at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, admitted the care provided in 2007 was ”not good enough”.

She added: ”We accept the criticisms made in the report of some of the procedures and practices which operated within parts of the trust at that time.”

Many drug addicts commit crimes while high on their drug of choice. If you know anyone with drug problems, please have them sign up for drug abuse programs before they do anything similarly tragic.


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