Health chiefs today reassured families steps have been taken to improve care of mental health patients – as the family of 13-year-old Casey Kearney prepare for the fourth anniversary of her murder.
Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, which was supposed to provide mental health services to Casey’s killer Hannah Bosner, were ordered to improve following her tragic death.
The Trust said today it now has a team who help patients integrate themselves back in to the community – and crucially keep checks on their well-being after they have been released.
On Valentine’s Day 2012, 13-year-old Casey was walking through Elmfield Park on the way to a friend’s house for a half-term sleepover when she was fatally stabbed.
She had just got off the number 55 bus and was walking through the park when she was randomly attacked.
She had left her home in Rossington at about noon. At 1.18pm she called police from her mobile phone. She had been stabbed in the stomach by then 26-year-old Hannah Bosner.
Despite efforts by members of the public and paramedics at the scene, Casey died of her injuries at Doncaster Royal Infirmary eight hours later. RDaSH was ordered to make improvements to their practice at the time.
Dr Navjot Ahluwalia, executive medical director for RDaSH, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with Casey’s family and friends at what must be a difficult time for them.
“After this tragic incident took place RDaSH fully co-operated with an investigation, called a serious case review. The investigation, which did not find a reason as to why our patient at the time carried out this attack, gave a number of recommendations for some of our services.
“We immediately took action to improve the services we offer our patients in adult mental health and fully implemented an action plan to improve these services further.
“For example we have a community team that comes to the wards several times a week to assist patients with the transition from inpatient care back into the community.
“This same team also contacts patients within seven days of discharge to check on their wellbeing. In addition, our crisis teams have developed systems to prioritise the care of patients who have the highest level of need.”
Police commander Peter Norman at the time said that the attack appeared to be ‘an isolated, random and unprovoked incident’.
An investigation later revealed that Bosner had been known to NHS and council workers for 19 years before she stabbed Casey, and she had warned medics she was going to harm someone.
In November independent expert Prof Pat Cantrill released a devastating report which said Bosner had not received proper help and care, but if she had the chances of the attack happening could have been reduced.
She said: “It is practically impossible to say if one of the services involved could have stopped the attack that took place, but if the services had assessed the case more effectively and got a better insight into her background it could have reduced the risk of the attack occurring.”
Bonser was jailed for life at Sheffield Crown Court, in July 2012, with a minimum, for Casey’s murder.