Tyne & Wear

Charity worker Ashleigh Ewing's killer was 'low risk to the public'

Ashleigh Ewing
Image caption Ashleigh Ewing had worked for the charity for a few months

A paranoid schizophrenic who stabbed a young carer to death had just days before been assessed as "of low risk to the public", an inquest has heard.

Ronald Dixon stabbed psychology graduate Ashleigh Ewing 39 times when she went to his home to deliver a letter from her employers.

Dixon, then aged 35, killed the 22-year-old in Newcastle in 2006.

He had recently been released from a secure hospital after making threats to kill the Queen.

Coroner David Mitford questioned whether the risk assessment methods used by his team were effective.

Mr Mitford told the inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre that Dixon had stopped taking his anti-psychotic medication and was having money worries and trouble with alcohol.

Dr Patrick Keown, a consultant psychiatrist for Northumbria Tyne and Wear NHS Trust, visited Dixon 14 days before he attacked Ashleigh on May 19 2006, and concluded he was "as well as I had ever seen him".

Dixon admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Newcastle Crown Court in October 2007 and was detained indefinitely at Rampton hospital.

After Dixon's trial, Sunderland-based Mental Health Matters was ordered to pay £50,000 for failing to properly protect her.

The inquest, which is expected to last a week, continues.

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