Nottingham

John McGrath stabbing: Family welcome inquest decision

John and Mabel McGrath
Image caption John McGrath was killed and his wife was injured

The family of a man who stabbed his grandfather to death have welcomed a coroner's decision to hold an inquest.

Relatives of William Barnard had been pushing for two-and-and-a-half years for a full inquest to be held into the death of John McGrath, 81.

They repeated their request after a report criticised health workers. Nottinghamshire Healthcare said it would cooperate with the inquest.

Barnard, who has schizophrenia, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and wounding.

He is now detained in Rampton high security hospital.

His uncle, Peter McGrath, said: "Nothing can ever bring back my father. This is not a witchhunt but we just feel that there were many failings by individuals and by the systems.

"He may have died but hopefully he didn't die in vain. Hopefully his death has saved someone else from dying."

'Corporate manslaughter'

The report in January, which followed an independent investigation for the East Midlands Strategic Health Authority, concluded that health workers missed vital chances to assess the state of Barnard's mind.

Peter McGrath then wrote to Nottinghamshire coroner Mairin Casey claiming that the death amounted to "corporate manslaughter".

Barnard killed his grandfather at his home in Stapleford in July 2009, and injured his grandmother Mabel, who was 84.

He had stopped taking his medication and had not had any contact with the team caring for him since January 2009.

Image caption William Barnard's family do not hold him responsible for the attack

"If that is supposed to be care then that is the lesson really," said Peter McGrath.

"There should be a proper plan laid down, and a proper schedule of meetings."

Mr McGrath said his nephew could not be held responsible because he was seriously ill.

The family said that although the report was thorough, it did not fully explain the failures that led to Mr McGrath's death.

They have sent a list of questions, which they believe have not been answered satisfactorily, to the coroner.

"As a family we just want to make sure that those lessons are learnt so that no other family ends up being the victim of such an attack because of those types of failings," said Mr McGrath.

Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry also wrote to the coroner asking for a full inquest to be held.

An inquest was opened in 2009 by Ms Casey's predecessor Dr Nigel Chapman, but Ms Soubry said it was originally thought that a full inquest would not be needed.

"It was thought that the two reports [into the care of Barnard] would answer all the questions that needed to be answered," she said.

Ms Casey received the final reports in mid-January and after considering the case she determined that there should be an inquest.

Dr Peter Miller, medical director at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "On behalf of the trust I would once again like to offer our sympathies to the family.

"We will be cooperating fully with the inquest and the process involved."

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