Tyne & Wear

Charity worker Ashleigh Ewing was unlawfully killed

Ashleigh Ewing
Image caption Psychology graduate Ms Ewing suffered 39 stab wounds

A charity worker who was stabbed to death by a mentally-ill man was unlawfully killed, an inquest ruled.

Ashleigh Ewing died in a "frenzied" knife attack when she visited the home of Ronald Dixon in Newcastle in 2006.

Dixon, who had paranoid schizophrenia, was detained indefinitely in 2007 after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

At the inquest into the 22-year-old's death, the coroner criticised her employers, Mental Health Matters.

David Mitford said that there was a lack of assessment of risk.

Dixon, then aged 35, had recently been released from a secure hospital after making threats to kill the Queen.

'Deeply regret'

The inquest heard that at the time psychology graduate Ms Ewing was killed he had stopped taking his anti-psychotic medication and was having money worries and trouble with alcohol.

However, Mental Health Matters had not carried out a risk assessment on him for three years, and sent Ms Ewing alone to his home to deliver a letter.

Image caption Ronald Dixon had a history of offending

After his trial, the Sunderland-based charity was ordered to pay £50,000 for failing to properly protect her.

Speaking after the inquest, Helen McKay, from the charity, said: "The tragic death of Ashleigh affected us all and we will live with this forever.

"We offer our sincere sympathy to her family.

"We deeply regret the failings which have been identified.

"Our practices and controls have been completely reviewed and revised."

Ms Ewing's family said in a statement: "Ashleigh wanted to make a difference to people's lives.

"It is heartbreaking that in order to do so she had to pay with her own life."

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