Police failings over street killer

A psychiatric patient has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 37 years for killing a grandmother in a street knife attack. But the police watchdog said officers failed to carry out a check on Nicola Edgington on the day of the murder.

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999 failings as killer Edgington is jailed for 37 years

The 999 calls for help of a convicted killer, who was afraid she was about to kill again, were not effectively acted on, a court heard today.

Nicola Edgington, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, went on to stab two strangers - killing one of them.

Today a judge jailed Edgington for 37 years saying she must stop blaming others.

But a report out said police officers should have done more checks on her.

ITV News UK editor, Lucy Manning, has the details:


Street killer: Police and health authorities criticised

The police and local health authorities have been blamed for a series of blunders that led to a psychiatric patient murdering an innocent stranger.

A court was told a string of avoidable errors allowed convicted killer Nicola Edgington to walk free from a mental health unit, and stab to death grandmother Sally Hodkin.

A judge called Edgington "manipulative and exceptionally dangerous" and jailed her for at least 37 years.

ITV News correspondent Neil Connery reports:

Murderer grabbed butcher's knife to kill woman

The knife used by Nicola Edgington to attack Kerry Clark. Credit: Metropolitan Police

Killer Nicola Edgington bought a knife from an Asda supermarket before she attacked Kerry Clark, 22, who was waiting for a bus.

When Miss Clark grabbed the blade and kicked her away, Edgington ran to a butcher's shop and grabbed a larger knife.

She then attacked Sally Hodkin, a law firm accounts clerk, with such force that she almost decapitated her.

Read: Police failings over street killer.

Killer walked from mental health unit to buy a knife

CCTV of Nicola Edgington in Asda after she has bought the knife (in plastic bag), walking towards the toilets where she concealed the blade. Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Street killer Nicola Edgington walked out of a mental health unit to buy a knife at a supermarket before she attacked two women.

She had been taken to Oxleas House in Woolwich, London, but walked out soon afterwards and later complained that staff kept tapping on a computer.

Judge Brian Barker, who sentenced her to life, said: "It is unfortunate that the shift was changing and one of the doors was faulty."

Edgington then took a bus to Bexleyheath, in London, and bought a knife from an Asda supermarket.

Killer rang 999 five times to warn she was dangerous

The killer who murdered a stranger in the street rang 999 five times warning that she was dangerous and would harm somebody if she was not sectioned.

Nicola Edgington called the emergency services while she was waiting to be admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, London.

CCTV of Nicola Edgington being arrested for the murder of Sally Hodkin. Credit: Metropolitan Police


Street killer Edgington was 'consistent and calculated'

A judge said Nicola Edgington's behaviour had been "consistent and calculated" as he sentenced her for life for murdering a stranger in the street. Recorder of London Judge Brian Barker said Edgington should stop blaming others for her actions and take responsibility.

You are manipulative and exceptionally dangerous. What you did could not have been more selfish.

I disagree that the responsibility for these acts can be laid on others.You made your choice and these were terrible acts for which you must take responsibility.

You have come as near as can be to having three deaths on your hands.

– Judge Barker

John Cooper, QC, mitigating, said she was a woman in crisis and had not been given the help she asked for.

Police criticised for blunders in street killer case

The life sentence for Nicola Edgington, 32, came on the day that the Independent Police Complaints Commission found failings in the murder case:

  • Local police in Greenwich were not notified that Edgington was living in the area.
  • Police and police staff did not carry out a police national computer check on Edgington which would have alerted them to her previous conviction for manslaughter.
  • Officers missed an opportunity to use their powers under the Mental Health Act when Edgington tried to leave an A&E department shortly after she arrived with police.
  • Edgington's second 999 call from an A&E department was downgraded because she was considered to be in a place of safety and an officer was not asked to return despite Edgington saying she could be very dangerous.
  • The police only contacted the hospital after a fourth call had been received.
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