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Monday, July 13, 1998 Published at 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK


Good Samaritan death 'preventable'

Carla Thompson's house where she was beaten to death by Daniel Joseph

The BBC's Newsroom Southeast on the Daniel Joseph case
A mental health charity has hit out at the "absurd deficiencies" which allowed a community care patient to murder his good Samaritan.

Nineteen-year-old Daniel Joseph was sentenced to indefinite detention in Broadmoor hospital by the Old Bailey on Monday, following the death in January of Carla Thompson.

Ms Thompson, who lived in south London, was beaten up by Joseph after she took him under her wing.

Her friend Agnes Erume was also injured in the attack. The two women were found bound together in the street. Ms Thompson, a committed Christian, died in hospital.

A former psychiatric patient herself, she had taken Mr Joseph in after his release from hospital and encouraged him not to see his doctor or take his medicine.


Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of schizophrenia charity Sane, said the case was the worst she had seen.

[ image: Majorie Wallace: Carla Thomspon's death 'an unbelievable tragedy']
Majorie Wallace: Carla Thomspon's death 'an unbelievable tragedy'
She said Mr Joseph had been let down by the three health authorities - Bethlem and Maudsley NHS trust, Lambeth Healthcare Trust and Pathfinder Mental Health services - and Lambeth social services department who should have looked after him as well as South Thames Regional Health Authority.

"One good professional relationship was all he needed," she said. She also hit out at Health Secretary Frank Dobson.

"The buck has to stop with the Secretary of State for Health. How many authorities do you need to look after one disturbed young man?" she asked.

Ms Wallace said allowing Mr Joseph and Ms Thompson to live together and Mr Joseph to go without treatment was "a recipe for disaster", particularly given that his mother was calling for him to be put back in hospital.

"This is an unbelievable tragedy. How can we restore public confidence in community care when these tragic events happen?" she asked.


The health authorities involved have ordered an independent inquiry of the case.

Sane says initial findings from ongoing research into 23 murder cases by community care patients shows that one in three could have been prevented because patients had sought help and warning signs had been ignored.

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