Belfast Telegraph

Widow of man stabbed by his ill son believes 'delays' cost husband John Lamont his life

By Laura Abernethy

A woman who watched her husband die from stab wounds inflicted by their mentally ill son believes he passed away because of delays by the hospital and the Ambulance Service, an inquest heard yesterday.

Retired RAF technician John Lamont (64) died outside his home at Carvale in Ballymena in January 2013 after his son, Gregory, stabbed him nine times because he believed "Jesus was coming for him".

The 29-year-old also stabbed his mother Liz (62) and killed the family dog, Tiny.

He was cleared of murdering his father and attempting to murder his mother in 2014 on the grounds that he did not appreciate that what he was doing was both morally and legally wrong.

Yesterday, an inquest into Mr Lamont's death heard how both Mrs Lamont and Dr Jayprakash, who was the GP called out to help with Gregory's behaviour, believe that delays in getting Gregory admitted to hospital and the wait for both the police and the Ambulance Service to arrive, led to Mr Lamont's death.

According to Mrs Lamont, she first rang Dalriada Urgent Call Surgery just after midnight because her son had been attempting to place bibles and CDs on the front lawn and had said: "Jesus is coming for me".

Just after 1am, Dr Jayprakash arrived at the house and spoke briefly with Gregory. His assessment was that he would need to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act and would not go voluntarily.

Dr Jayprakash said he was frightened by Gregory's behaviour and asked his driver, Maurice Magill, to come inside.

He then phoned Holywell Hospital and spoke to bed manager Alan Brown. Dr Jayprakash told the coroner that Mr Brown said that Gregory could not be admitted without the involvement of a crisis response team. Dr Jayprakash added that he told Mr Brown that Gregory should be detained.

Mr Brown later told the coroner that he had been "very confused" by the phone call and said that "nothing that Dr Jayprakash told me gave me any impression that Mr Lamont would be detained."

Mrs Lamont asked Mr Brown: "Do you realise that because of what you did, my husband is dead?" And Dr Jayprakash added that this was an "unnecessary delay".

The coroner heard that following their first conversation, Mr Brown passed Dr Jayprakash's number onto the crisis response team, which contacted him around 20 minutes later.

They told Dr Jayprakash that if Gregory could not be admitted on a voluntary basis, he could be admitted after an assessment by a social worker or with the permission of his GP and next of kin.

As the social worker would take between two to four hours to arrive, Dr Jayprakash said he would sign the form along with Mrs Lamont. Mr Brown then agreed that Gregory would be admitted to Holywell Hospital.

Mr Magill called 999 and asked for an ambulance but was told by the call handler that they could only take patients to A&E and this was an arranged admission.

Dr Jayprakash agreed to speak to another operator on the doctor's urgent line but was told that the ambulance could not come out until the police arrived if the patient would not cooperate.

The driver also called the police on a non-emergency number at 2.34am.

The call was logged as a priority and he was told they were told that they were second in the queue. At 2.55am, a second call was made to police on the 999 number as Dr Jayprakash and Maurice Magill were becoming increasingly concerned.

Inside the house, the situation quickly deteriorated and Gregory stabbed his father before turning on his mother. The couple fled the house, but Mr Lamont collapsed outside and died.

Two police cars and two ambulances arrived on the scene around 3.15am.

Mrs Lamont said: "There was no collaboration that night."

Dr Jayprakash claimed there was a "delayed response" and added: "I feel that Mr Lamont could have been saved."

The inquest continues.

Belfast Telegraph


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