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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Probe planned into killer's care
Sarah Jane Coughlan
Police say Sarah Jane Coughlan died from stab wounds
Health chiefs have commissioned an independent inquiry into the care of a man who murdered a prostitute.

George Leigers, 48, was convicted last April of murdering Sarah Jane Coughlan, 19, at his Middlesbrough flat in 2003.

Before that he had spent time in a secure mental health unit after he was convicted of killing his wife.

County Durham and Tees Valley Strategic Health Authority has ordered the inquiry to look at the care and treatment he received.

During the trial last year, Teesside Crown Court heard how Leigers spent 16 years in a secure mental health unit and home for the chronic mentally ill after he was convicted of the manslaughter of his wife.

Risk posed

He had only been free for six months when he killed Ms Coughlan.

Leigers denied murder but claimed the killing was manslaughter by diminished responsibility, but the defence was not accepted by the jury.

He was jailed for life, but after an appeal in March, judges ruled he should serve a minimum of 21 years 172 days.

The authority said the inquiry would take place under revised national guidelines relating to crimes committed by people who have received mental health services.

Under the guidance, the inquiry will look at the care and treatment Leigers received, including the assessment and management of the risk he posed.

It will also take into account any relevant legislation, local and national policies, agreed good practice and the findings of other relevant investigations and reports.


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