Wednesday, 18 February 2009

On-the-run killer hit by train

Convicted killer Paul Caesar died after he was hit by a train while on the run from a secure mental hospital, sources said today. The 37-year-old is believed to have committed suicide at Balham railway station, in south-west London, at about 1pm yesterday.

He went on the run from nearby Springfield Hospital, Tooting, two hours earlier after he was allowed to spend time in the grounds unescorted... His death will come as a massive embarrassment for bungling hospital officials who have overseen a steady stream of escapes.

Last November a suspected murderer and an alleged violent burglar escaped from the mental institution. Both men were on remand ahead of criminal proceedings and were being assessed for mental health conditions while at the hospital. After one of the men was recaptured he was charged with three robberies committed while on the run.

Springfield Hospital was condemned after one of its patients, John Barrett, killed a cyclist in Richmond Park in September 2004. The paranoid schizophrenic stabbed retired banker Denis Finnegan, 50, to death after walking out of the hospital's grounds. An inquiry, headed by mental health solicitor Robert Robinson, found carers placed too much emphasis on Barrett's wishes and did not properly assess the risk he posed.

In December 2006, two patients fled more than 400 miles after escaping from the secure mental health unit. The two, one of whom was rapist Anthony Rowley, were arrested in Edinburgh after being on the loose for about six hours. The men left the secure Shaftesbury Clinic at the hospital and jumped on a train to the Scottish capital. A member of staff was suspended and the unit was closed to new admissions as a result of the escape.

In 2004, Broadmoor patient Mark Ricketts, a schizophrenic with a history of serious violence, absconded during a day trip to Springfield. The criminal spent six days on the run and an inquiry later found staff forgot about his visit.

In 2000, the South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust, which runs the hospital, was criticised in an independent report. It found serious failures after patient Anthony Joseph was set free and went on to kill his social worker Jenny Morrison.
Ms Morrison was not told by hospital authorities that Joseph, a paranoid schizophrenic who believed he was the son of God, was a danger.

A spokeswoman for South West London and St George's NHS Trust declined to comment.
Source: The Independent


Witterings From Witney said...

May be a heartless view to 'express' but: That is one less criminal they will have to 'track'!
On a more serious note, this is totally unacceptable; perhaps the staff need 'sectioning' too!

Mark Wadsworth said...

WFW, I must admit, that thought was 'crossing' my mind. It's something I've been 'railing' about for years. But let me 'level' with you ... (continued page 94).

Linda Preston said...

Our local mental hospital has had several incidents over the years including a patient setting fire to the ward and one jumping off the hospital roof (he survived)

Security is paramount in these establishements.