Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Killing could have been 'averted'

James Fortey
James Fortey's killing could have been averted, a report found

The killing of a 44-year-old man could have been averted if his mentally ill attacker had received proper care and treatment, a report says.

Kevin Price, 45, stabbed former school friend James Fortey five times in Newport, south Wales, in August 2007.

A Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) report expressed concern over the care provided to Mr Price.

The Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Newport council both said lessons had been learnt.

They said systems had been improved to do everything possible to ensure such an incident did not happen again. Nobody has been disciplined.

HIW said there were "important lessons" to be learned from the case.

There are important lessons to be learnt from this tragic case
Dr Peter Higson

The report said the killing could not have been predicted but if Mr E (Price) had "been engaged more assertively in care and treatment it may have led to the likelihood of any homicide being averted".

The review also said leadership and management systems in community mental health teams were "ineffective", and there was "a lack of an assertive approach to the care, treatment and monitoring" of Price.

Other findings included risk assessment arrangements not being reviewed with the frequency HIW would expect, and documentation not always being completed.

A series of recommendations were made to address the issues.

HIW chief executive, Dr Peter Higson, said: "There are important lessons to be learnt from this tragic case.

Professional practice

"I urge all mental health service providers to assess themselves against the findings and recommendations we have made in our report and use them to ensure that they are better able to minimise the role of similar incidents occurring in the future."

He was ordered to be detained indefinitely after a court case in December 2007 where he admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The court heard how Price stabbed his victim twice in the chest and three times in the back after grabbing him from a ladder as he decorated a house in Newport. Mr Fortey died of his wounds.

Price then drove to his parents' home nearby and told them: "I'm sorry dad, I've done him, I've stabbed him. I'm sorry for you and mam."

Scene of the stabbing
Price stabbed his friend stabbed five times as he was decorating

Following the publication of the report into Price's care, the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Newport council, both responsible for mental health services, issued a joint statement where they said lessons had been learned and had led to "significant changes in services and professional practice" throughout the their area.

Dr Andrew Goodall, chief executive of the health board, said: "We would like to reassure all those who require mental health services, and the wider public, that many changes have already been made to mental health provision in the Gwent area and we will continue to review our services, particularly in the light of the recommendations by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales.

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise formally for shortfalls in services that have been highlighted by HIW."

If this report can save another family going through what my family has been through then it will have done its job
Bryn Fortey

The newly-formed Aneurin Bevan Health Board gave HIW an updated action plan this month about progress made on recommendations in the report.

HIW said the action plan demonstrated that the health board had made "significant progress" in addressing the recommendations.

Mr Fortey's parents Bryn, 72, and Maddalena, 73, welcomed the report and demanded its recommendations are fully implemented.

Mr Fortey said: "My wife and I have been devastated to learn the full failings of the local mental healthcare agencies in their dealings with Kevin Price.

"There were a number of incidences when better handling of his case and treatment might have averted what happened to our son.

"But that's something we will never be able to come to terms with."

He continued: "This report confirms many of the things we suspected had happened - the poor treatment dished out to Kevin Price and the errors made along the way.

"We know there can be no 100% safe method of operation with people who have mental health problems.

"But we want it made as difficult as possible for anything like this to happen again.

"If this report can save another family going through what my family has been through then it will have done its job."

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