The inquest into the death of Maylyn Couperthwaite concluded on 29th June 2018. Maylyn and her mother were victim to a violent attack by Maylyn’s next door neighbour in which she was stabbed multiple times. There had been numerous concerns raised by Maylyn’s mother to the housing association, Six Town Housing about the neighbours concerning behaviour towards them.
The jury found that Maylyn was unlawfully killed by her next door neighbour on 7th February 2016 at her home address. Following Maylyn’s death, the offender was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the offence.
Evidence was heard over the course of 2 weeks from a number of witnesses including police officers, employees of Six Town Housing, medical professionals, neighbours and 3 expert psychiatrists.
Having heard all the evidence, the Jury concluded that mental health services failed to adequately follow up on formal referrals received in connection with the offender and should have taken decisive action to instigate mental health assessments to highlight any risk of harm to himself and others. The sharing of information between multi-agencies involved was inadequate.
The Jury reached the following conclusions;
3 psychiatrists have given their professional opinions that they felt at the time of the incident the neighbour was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia;
4 separate referrals sent to mental health services were not acted upon sufficiently and record keeping did not link to these referrals;
A formal mental health assessment should have been undertaken as a result of the first referral made in October 2010;
Police had failed to share all relevant information and records between themselves and multi-agencies in regard to the neighbour’s violent offences;
Detailed housing records were not satisfactorily shared with the relevant agencies, for instance mental health services not being asked to attend a multi-agency meeting in January 2012;
Previous tenancy records were not available to housing which would have highlighted previous long standing concerns that could have been shared across multi-agencies.
Audrey Couperthwaite, mother of Maylyn said;
I am pleased with the findings of the jury and I hope that the changes that have been promised by all the agencies that were involved will be implemented. We miss Maylyn terribly and I hope that no other family has to ever suffer the avoidable tragic loss that we have.
Kelly Darlington, solicitor for the family, said;
“This is an extremely tragic case that could have been avoided. The inquest has highlighted a number of failings including the failure of agencies to pass on important information about the offender. The jury found a number of missed opportunities by the Trust to carry out a mental health assessment of the offender following referrals they received as early as 2010 raising concerns about the offender’s concerning behaviour. Evidence was heard that a number of lessons have been learned from all agencies since Maylyn’s death and it is crucial that changes are implemented to prevent future deaths occurring.”
In response to the inquest findings, a spokeswoman of Greater Manchester Police said:
“We accept the findings of the inquest into the tragic death of Maylyn Couperthwaite. Since Maylyn’s death we have reviewed our practices and have changed the processes we use to communicate with all of our partners. Whilst nothing we can do can change what happened to Maylyn or change the heartbreak that her family have been through, I hope the fact that we are doing all that we can to ensure nothing like this ever happens again can go some way to help her family as they continue to get on with their lives.”
Dr Henry Ticehurst, Medical Director at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We fully accept the coroner’s findings and deeply apologise that the care provided on this occasion fell below the high standards we set ourselves.”
To date we are not aware of any response from Six Town Housing.