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  1. ITV Report

Man criticises mental health trust: "They allowed my father to go and murder my mother"

Joseph Goswell's parents Roger and Sue Photo:

The son of a man who killed his wife before taking his own life has reacted with anger after the release of a report into the way an NHS Trust handled his father's mental illness.

Roger Goswell, who was 66-years-old at the time, murdered his 63-year-old wife, Susan, at the couple's home in West Chiltington, West Sussex, in December 2007.

The publication today of a review of 10 killings involving people who had links to mental health services at the Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Foundation Trust has revealed a number of failings at the trust.

Joseph Goswell said his family pleaded with doctors to keep his father in hospital. Calls were made to police about the threat to Mrs Goswell's life in the weeks leading up to her death. Her husband Roger, was discharged from the Priory psychiatric clinic days before he killed her.

An initial investigation into the role of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in the Goswell family's case found that while Mrs Goswell's death was predictable, the trust could not be blamed for not having prevented it.

However, the initial report heavily criticised staff for failing to take appropriate action over Mr Goswell's repeated threats to murder his wife. It said that Roger Goswell had been "able to manipulate his treating team into not detaining him under a section of the Mental Health Act by staying as a voluntary patient and by claiming his plans to kill both his wife and himself were a mere fantasy".

The Goswell's son, Joseph, has said that he did not believe lessons had been learned from his mother's death nine years ago.

Indeed, the review released today, looked into ten killings - the earliest case was that of the Goswells in 2007. The independent report - commissioned by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust itself - criticised the trust for failing to learn lessons from previous incidents.

It found that the trust had severely under-estimated the risk posed by mental health patients and often only viewed the patients as victims, rather than potential abusers or murderers.

The trust was also accused of failing to take into account the views of families or carers, some of whom pleaded for help; and it was criticised for not always referring or sending on people with signs of psychosis to specialist services.

In response to today's report the trust has issued an apology and has said it is working on improving its referral structure, family liaison provision and staff training; as well as implementing the other recommendations in the independent review.

The Shadow Minister for mental health and social care Barbara Keeley said the new report by Caring Solution UK Ltd, was 'disturbing'.

It is very worrying that, in some cases, this large NHS trust took no further action after service users threatened to kill others, including not informing the police, warning the person threatened, or triggering a management plan."

– Barbara Keeley MP, Shadow Minister for mental health and social care

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