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Mental health trust vows to improve after critical report

The mental health trust which dealt with convicted killer Phillip Simelane - who stabbed 16-year-old Christina Edkins to death on a Birmingham bus - has vowed to improve services in the future.

A homicide report into Christina's death criticised the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for not liaising with Simelane's counsellors, only discussing his notes on a verbal basis, and for exercising an 'opt in' policy which discharged patients back to their GP if they did not contact the trust to make an appointment themselves.

CCTV footage of Simelane on the bus at the time of Christina's attack Credit: West Midlands Police

Trust chief executive Karen Dowman said the death of Christina was "a desperately sad and shocking event".

Her death affected a huge number of people, and I send my sincere condolences, on behalf of the Trust, to her family and to her friends for their terrible loss.

As one of the agencies that had been in contact with the perpetrator, Philip Simelane, we take today’s report very seriously and have committed to putting into effect the recommended changes to help prevent a similar tragedy from happening.

The report makes it very clear that more could have been done to prevent Philip’s mental health from deteriorating as it did. My sympathies also go out to his family for the distress they will have suffered.

Our trust is fully committed to carrying out all the changes recommended in the report, and some of this work has already been completed.

We have already phased out the use of ‘opt in’ letters in which a patient is asked to make an appointment. These letters were previously used for patients with minor mental health problems. In response to the report’s recommendations we are now proactively assessing all patients who are referred to us.

We are working to improve the way our services join up others, particularly external agencies, in the care of someone with severe mental illness. We will shortly be introducing electronic patient records which will enable teams across different parts of the service to access information more quickly.

Making these changes happen is a very high priority for our trust. We are committed to doing everything we can to prevent such a tragic death from happening in the future.

– Karen Dowman, Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Police: Improvements made since Christina was killed

West Midlands Police's lead officer dealing with mental health issues has said improvements have been made since teenager Christina Edkins was stabbed to death.

Ch Insp Sean Russell said a series of recommendations had already been acted upon.

The report criticised authorities' handling of paranoid schizophrenic Phillip Simelane Credit: West Midlands Police

It comes after a homicide report criticised authorities in the region for not properly tackling the mental health problems plaguing paranoid schizophrenic Phillip Simelane, who attacked and killed the 16-year-old on a bus last year.

This was a tragic and deeply distressing case in which a young girl was killed by a man who, sadly, was not receiving the necessary support when he committed this appalling crime.

In the years prior to Christina’s death West Midlands Police had contact with the young man involved, in the form of repeated calls to his home regarding concerns around his behaviour and breaches of the peace. He was arrested multiple times.

On each occasion, including those which led to this young man appearing before the courts, the force acted in order to safeguard those affected by his crimes, whilst alerting partner agencies involved in offering support to such an individual.

We have worked with those agencies to conduct a review of the events prior to Christina’s death and have implemented all of the recommendations made to try and ensure that such a tragedy will not happen to another family in the future.

Our thoughts are, as ever, with the families of those so deeply affected by this crime.

– Ch Insp Sean Russell, West Midlands Police

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Long queues on the M6 after lorry overturns

Tailbacks of up to three miles are being reported on the M6 northbound in Warwickshire after a lorry carrying hay overturned.

The hay wagon tipped over near J3A at around 1.15pm today. Credit: MotorwayCameras.co.uk

The carriageway is closed between J2 M69 / A46 (Coventry) and J4 M42 / A446 (Coleshill).

The hay wagon tipped over near J3A at around 1.15pm today.

Drivers are being urged to find alternative routes.

The carriageway is closed between J2 and J4 Credit: MotorwayCameras.co.uk

Two in hospital after car burst into flames in crash

Two people have been taken to hospital after a car burst into flames when it crashed in Warwickshire today.

Paramedics were called to Alcester Road in Little Alne, Wootton Wawen, Henley in Arden at around 8.40am to reports of a crash between two cars.

The crash happened in Wootton Wawen, Henley in Arden, this morning Credit: West Midlands Ambulance Service

One of the cars - a red Corsa - was left little more than a shell after catching fire. The driver, aged 18, was taken to the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire for treatment.

His two passengers, who were of a similar age, were discharged at the scene.

The Corsa was left little more than a burned-out shell after setting alight Credit: Wes

The driver of the second car, a silver Ford, was treated for back and neck pain. The man, believed to be in his 40s, suffered neck and back pain and was taken to Warwick Hospital for further treatment.

Pictures show aftermath of university fire

Shocking pictures show the extent of damage caused by a blaze which ripped through the multi-million pound new chemistry building at the University of Nottingham's Jubilee Campus.

The charred remains of the building Credit: ITV News Central

The impressive building was hit by fire on Friday evening. An investigation was launched today to try to determine what caused the blaze.

It was still under construction, having been funded by a £12 million grant from pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

The building had not yet opened Credit: ITV News Central
A recent photograph of the building Credit: University of Nottingham

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