Cumbria

Annie Sowerby killing: NHS trust investigate son's care

Lee Sowerby Image copyright Cumbria Police
Image caption Lee Sowerby's mental health deteriorated when he stopped taking medication last year

A health trust has begun an internal investigation into the care of a patient with paranoid schizophrenia who killed his mother.

Lee Sowerby had been subject to hospital orders before he stabbed Mary Annie Sowerby, 69, at her home in Dearham, Cumbria, in January.

He was sentenced to life with a minimum jail term of 11 years on Wednesday.

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said its findings would be shared with the Sowerby family once complete.

Preston Crown Court heard the 45-year-old stabbed his mum, who was known as Annie, with a kitchen knife in a "brutal and frenzied" attack as she watched TV.

Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown QC, said he doubted the killing would have happened if Sowerby had not received an absolute discharge from a hospital order in 2012.

He also said it was "astonishing" the defendant was not allowed to see a doctor six days before the killing, when his father Leonard took him to a community mental health facility in Workington and requested he be put back on medication.

'Badly let down'

Sowerby denied murder and the Crown Prosecution Service accepted his guilty plea to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

A spokeswoman for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said the organisation had been "fully co-operative with the police investigation".

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Annie and Lenny Sowerby had been devoted to their son, the court heard

Sowerby was first sent to hospital after an armed robbery at a bank and causing a bomb hoax in 1996.

He was again jailed in 2008 for attempting to stab his brother's girlfriend.

His last hospital admission was in March 2018 on an informal basis after he was found carrying knives.

During the trial for killing his mother, the court was told Sowerby's father felt the family had been "badly let down" by local mental health services.

Sowerby will start his sentence in a secure hospital in Middlesbrough and will be returned to prison once he is deemed fit for release.

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