Belfast Telegraph

Couple's mentally ill killer McEntee in intensive care

By Victoria Leonard

A mentally ill man who stabbed an elderly couple to death in their Portadown home has been treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital's intensive care ward.

Mike and Marjorie Cawdery, both aged 83, were beaten and stabbed to death by paranoid schizophrenic Thomas McEntee (41) in May 2017.

Earlier this year McEntee received a life sentence for manslaughter, with a minimum jail term of 10 years.

A spokesperson for the Belfast Trust confirmed that McEntee had entered the Royal Victoria Hospital through its A&E department, and was then moved to the intensive care ward. McEntee was discharged on Sunday evening and sent to the Shannon Clinic at Knockbracken.

The medium secure unit provides in-patient services for people with mental illness who require intensive psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation.

The 34-bed unit features facilities including a gym, sports hall, workshop, music room, IT suite and cafe area.

McEntee's hospital visit comes after it was reported that a review is due to take place into the serious adverse incident (SAI) report into the pensioners' killings.

According to the Irish News, the investigation will determine whether the Southern Trust's original SAI report followed strict procedures for confidential investigations.

It was also reported that a Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) spokesperson had issued a public apology to the Cawdery family for the "distress" they experienced.

A HSCB spokeswoman said: "We want to acknowledge and are sorry for the loss and distress which the Cawdery family has experienced. An independent team has been established to conduct a review into this case and the terms of reference are being finalised."

The SAI report was published in May but has never been made public.

The first SAI report concluded that "no factors" in the health and social services' handling of McEntee "caused or influenced" the deaths of the elderly couple.

The Cawdery family described the report as "shambolic" and demanded a fresh investigation, with their input.

The Cawderys' son-in-law Charles Little, who discovered their bodies, said "lessons had not been learned", but he accepted the HSCB's apology.

Mr Little said that the Southern Trust "used the SAI review as a reason not to talk to" the family.

"We thought we would be central to the SAI," he told the Irish News. "Instead, we had no proactive contact from the Southern Trust for nearly a year despite repeated advice from the police to engage with us.

"It is traumatic enough going through the actual incident, but then to find that the one organisation that is supposed to give you care is going out of its way to drive you away - when we had in fact become their patients as a result of the incident - is traumatic."

The Southern Trust said: "The Public Health Agency and Health and Social Care Board are working with the Cawdery family to establish a new independent review.

"The trust is fully committed to this process and we will be working closely with all of those involved."

Belfast Telegraph

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