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Inquest Finds Christina Edkins' Death 'Preventable'

Access To Mental Health Services May Have Prevented Stabbing

16.09.2014

An inquiry into the death of 16-year-old Christina Edkins, who was stabbed on a bus in Birmingham in March 2013, has found that her death could have been prevented if her killer, Phillip Simelane, had been given mental health treatment.

Dr Alison Reed, chair of the review panel, said: "The attack on Christina was random and unprovoked and therefore it could not have been predicted.

"However, it is the conclusion of the panel that as Christina's death was directly related to P's mental illness, it could have been prevented if his mental health needs had been identified and met."

It was discovered that the police, prison service and medical staff had failed to get him the treatment he needed for paranoid schizophrenia. 

The inquiry, commissioned by Birmingham Cross City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), found Simelane’s mental health issues were first spotted when he was at school and that his mother’s requests for social workers and GPs to get him treatment were ignored.

The report made 51 recommendations calling for the improved sharing of mental health information between agencies including the NHS, the police and the prison service. It also called for a specific social services review into how it handled the issues surrounding Simelane and for the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health to consider providing prisoner health records to GPs after their release.

Birmingham Cross City CCG has said a number of the recommendations have already been implemented.

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