'We were let down': Son of Odessa Carey speaks out after review into her death in Ashington

Lawrence Crook, who is the son of Odessa Carey senior and half brother of the younger Odessa Carey said his family had been let down by authorities. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees News/ Family

The brother of a woman with severe mental health issues, who decapitated their mother, said he warned authorities about the danger she posed.

Lawrence Crook's younger sister Odessa Carey murdered their 73-year-old mother, also Odessa Carey, in Ashington, Northumberland in 2019.

The younger Ms Carey had a long history of mental health issues.

Today a joint domestic homicide review and independent mental health homicide review, into the incident, was released.

Mr Crook told ITV Tyne tees that his family had warned authorities about the danger his sister posed to Mrs Carey.

He said: "I'd told authorities, my brother had told authorities, 'look - she's gonna hurt mam. You've got to do something for her. You've got to help my sister as well as help mam.'"

At the time of the killing, Ms Carey was a patient of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, now Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

As well as mental health issues the review outlined that she also had a background of violence.

It found there had been missed opportunities by health care services and other agencies and the risk she posed was not properly considered.

Odessa Carey was killed by her daughter in Ashington in 2019. Credit: Family

Mr Crook said: "We were let down by the authorities, doctors, and hospitals because they weren't listening to what we had to say.

"They were more concerned about what health problems my sister had.

"They should have listened to our side, especially mam and this is where the system's failed her by not listening to my mam as well."

Among more than a dozen findings, the report concluded:

  • There was no cross communication between GPs in the same practice, where the victim and perpetrator were registered.

  • It found 'not one psychiatrist had personal knowledge' of Ms Carey. This was coupled with 'the lack of a clear diagnosis'.

  • More broadly, the report found 'missed opportunities across and between agencies' to gain detailed understanding of the risks to Mrs Carey.

The review - which included input from the wider family, observes that Mrs Carey had restricted mobility, and had previously been attacked by the younger woman.

Odessa Carey was sentenced to a hospital order after she was found to be responsible for her mother's death. Credit: Family

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, s​​aid: "The mental health services and support networks are suffering great reductions in financial assistance from central government and indeed the overall NHS budget.

"That needs to be looked at greatly. We also need to make sure that the support networks actually carry out their functions effectively."

Credit: Family

But after reading the report Mr Crook said he is not hopeful that the relevant changes will be made.

He said: "Reading it - yeah, they're going to change this, they're going to change that, but to be honest- nah.

“I don't think it's going to happen."

Rajesh Nadkarni, executive medical director at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said: “We would like to offer our deepest sympathy to the victim’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.

“The impact of this tragedy has been felt throughout our whole organisation.  Nothing can ever ease the pain for those who knew her, but we are determined that lessons are learned, and services are improved.

"We fully accept and welcome the recommendations in this report. We have already made substantial changes and improvements, however, we are not complacent.  We will study the findings in this report and take decisive action to ensure that we will do everything we need to improve our services for those who need us.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We will invest an additional £2.3 billion per year into mental health services by 2024, including almost £1 billion for community mental health care for adults with severe mental illness.

“This will give 370,000 adults and older adults with severe mental illnesses greater choice and control over their care and support them to live well in their communities.”

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