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Escaped killer back in hospital

Convicted killer Phillip Westwater, 44, who was dubbed the Black Dog Strangler, has been found and detained after escaping from a secure psychiatric hospital in Newcastle.

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Review to be held after killer escaped

An inquiry will be held into how a convicted killer dubbed the Black Dog Strangler escaped from a secure hospital in Newcastle, health trust bosses said.

Phillip Westwater left his clothes in a pile at St Nicholas Hospital, after asking to use the toilet during an escorted visit, then disappeared.

Westwater was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act after paralysing a man during a pub fight in 1989 and killing a fellow inmate at Liverpool's Ashworth Hospital.

He was reportedly found in a bar in the Newcastle's gay area after he was recognised from a photo circulated by the media.

Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust runs a medium secure unit within its St Nicholas site, and said Whiteman escaped during an escorted visit to a restaurant in another building.

He asked to use the toilet, from where he vanished, leaving a pile of clothes on the floor.

"Planned or escorted leave is an important part of any patient's treatment plan, especially when working towards their recovery.

Arrangements for escorted leave are rigorously risk assessed, made on an individual basis and regularly reviewed.

The decision to grant leave involves the views of the patient's multi-disciplinary clinical team and when appropriate input from the patient, their carers, family members, as well as external agencies."

We will be carrying out a thorough internal review of this incident as soon as our colleagues at Northumbria Police have concluded their investigation."

– Spokesman for Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

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