Stabbing of Pc 'was preventable'
Published 17/11/2010 | 14:42
The murder of a policeman stabbed to death by a paranoid schizophrenic might have been prevented if he had been treated suitably, an independent report has found.
Tennyson Obih was jailed for life last year for murdering Pc Jon Henry in Luton in June 2007.
Pc Henry was stabbed twice as he tried to arrest Obih in George Street, Luton, on June 11, after he stabbed window cleaner Stephen Chamberlain.
The paranoid schizophrenic was under the care of the former Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust (BLPT), but had stopped taking his medication.
An independent report from Verita, commissioned by NHS East of England, said a decision to close an early intervention service to save money was the starting point for the tragedy.
Report author Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said they found a series of "management and clinical failings" stemming from that decision. She said: "The cumulative effect of these failings was that at the time of the incident Mr Obih's illness was untreated and his well-being was effectively unmonitored."
Ms Scott-Moncrieff said Obih, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in June 2004, moved from an in-patient recovery unit into his own accommodation under the care of the Luton Early Intervention Team in July 2006.
But in September that year that service was closed as part of cost savings required by Luton Teaching Primary Care Trust - now NHS Luton. Obih was transferred to Luton South East Community Mental Health Team, where he received "considerably less" support.
Claire Lawton, associate medical director from NHS East of England, said action plans had been put in place by the Trust and PCT and significant progress had been made.
Margaret Berry, director of quality/executive nurse from NHS Luton, said at the time of the decision to close the early intervention service the PCT was trying to make £20million in savings.