Sister of man who killed parents with bayonet says 'broken mental health services' contributed to deaths
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Sally and Lucie Andrews told a sentencing hearing for James Andrews, known as Duncan, that their parents Bryan Andrews, 79, and Mary Andrews, 76, could still be alive if their brother had been properly diagnosed and treated for his mental health problems.
Sally Andrews told Sheffield Crown Court how she and her family spent two years trying to get appropriate treatment for her brother, now 52, as his behavior became increasingly irrational.
The court heard how this culminated on November 27, 2022 at Mr and Mrs Andrews’s detached home in Terrey Road, Totley, Sheffield, when their son killed them with a German bayonet owned by Bryan Andrews in what was described as frenzied attack during a "psychotic episode".
The court heard how Mrs Andrews suffered 82 stabs wounds and her husband also had multiple injuries.
A judge was told that Andrews said to the officers who arrested him, using a taser to restrain him: “I just killed my mum and dad.”
Duncan Andews is believed to have taken the bayonet he used to carry out the fatal attack from his parents' bedroom.
David Brooke KC, prosecuting, told the court that Duncan Andrews later said he had been hearing voices for months and that "God had made him do what he had done”.
Sally Andrews read a victim personal statement to the court, saying: “We weren't made victims on November 27, have been victims of a broken health and social service for at least two years, if not more.
"Medical letters my brother received outline some of the failures, stating he 'fell in between services', that he 'remained on waiting lists'.
"Then there was the poor liaison with him, no regard for the family that were encouraged to support him and no return of calls.
“We believe this very much contributed the the outcome on that fateful day.”
Ms Andrews said: “Where were the mental health team or epilepsy liaison team?
And she added: “In the absence of these professionals our family paid the ultimate price.
"My parents sacrificed their lives so he could get a diagnosis of a 'serious mental illness' - something we had been trying to get them to acknowledge for some time."
Ms Andrews said "On the day our parents died we also lost our brother following an act that, we were told, he was unlikely to be in control of.
"An act that broke the trust we had in him and has rocked the foundations of the life I and many others have shared with him."
Both sisters told the court they were very concerned for the safety of their children if there brother was ever released.
The judge, Mrs Justice Stacey, told Duncan Andrews he will be detained at Rampton Special Hospital "without limit of time" after he admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility at a previous hearing.
The judge told Duncan Andrews: "Your parents were a wonderful, remarkable couple who lived by example and gave joy to everyone they knew and met.
"There are many ways they radiated love and support to all of their children.”
She said the defendant had enjoyed an idyllic childhood and his father, who was a builder, and mother, who was a district nurse, were much loved in their community.
She said the couple’s deaths was an “absolute tragedy”.
The judge said: “Their lives were cut short in such tragic circumstances while you were in the grip of a psychotic episode in which you believed God ordered you to kill them both and you acted on it.”
"It haunts your sisters that the severity of your condition was not recognised in time by others.”
Speaking after Duncan Andrews was sentenced, Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Hodgman said: “Today’s outcome closes a chapter of a deeply personal tragedy for the Andrews family. Throughout the criminal investigation and court process, they have remained entirely dignified focused only on ensuring the facts are known and recorded so the right conclusion can be drawn.
“Whilst we hope today’s outcome helps them close this chapter of their lives, we recognise the challenge of the journey ahead and know that there is no good outcome today and no winners in this particular case.
“The family now need time and space to rebuild their lives and ask that their privacy is respected.”