Death of Lowestoft war veteran killed by his daughter ‘could not have been prevented’ by health workers, review finds

Dennis Nicholls who was murdered at his home on Kirkley Run, Lowestoft. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Dennis Nicholls who was murdered at his home on Kirkley Run, Lowestoft. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

The death of a war veteran killed by his daughter could not have been prevented by health workers, an independent review has found.

The house in Kirkley Run, Lowestoft where the incident happened. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

The house in Kirkley Run, Lowestoft where the incident happened. Picture: NICK BUTCHER - Credit: Nick Butcher

Dennis Nicholls, 89, was strangled to death by his daughter Karen Kimber at his Kirkley Run home in November 2014 after her mental health problems led her to believe he was the devil.

A court later heard that Kimber, 53 - who had lived at the property with Mr Nicholls since 2013 - had contacted a mental health team six times in the period before the killing, saying she was feeling low and unable to go shopping.

Now, an independent domestic homicide review carried out by Waveney District Council's Community Safety Partnership (CSP) has concluded that GPs, the mental health trust and social carers in the case had acted in ways the CSP felt appropriate.

In what it described as a 'truly tragic case', the partnership said: 'In all cases, it found the level of engagement and assessment of risk to be appropriate. The review finds that on balance the GPs showed a high level of awareness and care for both the victim and the perpetrator.


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'This review concludes that those caring for the victim and the perpetrator did what they thought was appropriate in all the circumstances.

'They used professional knowledge and judgement to make referrals, provide support and reduce the risk that existed from the perpetrator of self-harm and harm to others.'

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The review stated that Kimber - who later pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility - had experienced hallucinations and heard voices but that they had successfully been managed for many years, and were linked to anxiety. It went on to say: 'On the very day of the incident itself there do not appear to have been any signs of what was to come.

'One can only come to the conclusion that in the minutes immediately preceding the perpetrator's attack on her father, thoughts had come to her that prompted the attack.

'This review does not consider this could have been reasonably predicted or prevented.'

The review did not include the police response to an emergency call made by Mr Nicholls before the attack, which was later scrutinised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and resulted in a call handler's sacking.

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