Advising with empathy and experience

NHS Trust failings 'led' to stabbing.

A mother has blamed an NHS trust for not acting on information that led to the stabbing of her daughter eight years ago.

Lucy Yates, 21, was attacked by paranoid schizophrenic, Samuel Reid-Wentworth, in a supermarket near Littlehampton, West Sussex, where she grew up. He stabbed her repeatedly in the stomach, chest and neck before dragging her by the legs across the store.

Samuel Reid-Wentworth had  followed Lucy, who had just moved into a flat with her boyfriend, as she made her way to a local supermarket. He was intent on stabbing someone with a nine-inch knife he was carrying.

Reid-Wentworth, 22, had been discharged from a secure mental health unit six weeks previously and was well known to Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Weeks before the attack he had told staff that he wanted to kill a young woman and drink her blood.

Lucy was left with two collapsed lungs, a punctured liver and severe spinal damage after more than 20 stab wounds. Her heart stopped three times while surgeons operated. Doctors said it was a miracle that she survived.

An NHS review found that the attack could have been avoided if trust staff had acted on warning signs. A year earlier Wentworth-Reid was admitted to psychiatric services after assaulting two women. He had also scrawled “October 2007 serial killer was here” under a poster on his ward bedroom wall.

Lucy, who is now married to her childhood boyfriend, lives on the Isle of Wight. She cannot bear to be in Sussex. Her mother, Deborah Yates, who lives in Pulborough, 20 minutes from Littlehampton, blames the NHS trust for what happened to her daughter.

She says: “It should never have happened. People who are ill are just allowed to come out. His mother feels let down, we feel let down. The trust did nothing.”

The following manslaughter conviction of Matthew Daley, another mental health patient failed by the same NHS trust, was particularly upsetting for Mrs Yates as his victim, Don Lock, had been her solicitor and friend.

Deborah Yates added: “People at the trust keep making mistakes. We never had an apology. All they said was the lessons would be learnt.”

Reid-Wentworth was jailed for attempted murder in 2009 and detained indefinitely at Broadmoor.

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