Inquiry points to lost opportunities in care of schizophrenic man who beheaded friend

An independent inquiry has concluded that the death of a man decapitated by a friend suffering from paranoid schizophrenia may not have occurred if a clinical team had taken different decisions and actions.

The independent report was presented this morning into the death of Graham Rayner, of Taverham, who was killed by his friend Garnet Hooper, of Attlebridge, in May 2006.

The report concluded: 'It is the overall conclusion that the death of Mr Rayner on May 24, may not have occurred had the decisions and actions of the clinical team been different between May 5 and 24. However preventability of his death is by no means certain.

'Absolute avoidability of this was dependent on him being treated in hospital either on a voluntary or a detained basis prior to this date.'

The inquiry team gave seven recommendations for the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.


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Dr Claire Lawton, medical director, at the NHS East of England, said: 'The independent report provides recommendations for specific actions to build on the improvements already made in mental health services in Norfolk and Waveney.

'An action plan has been pt in place by the Trust and significant progress has already been made.'

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A statement on behalf of Mr Rayner's family was read by Johanna Wells, the fianc�e of his son Adam.

She said: 'It is clear there were lost opportunities in the care of Garnet Hooper. We consider that the management of his care was the significant factor leading to the death of Graham.

'It is apparent that these circumstances were predictable and preventable.

'The level of protection offered to the public from violent individuals by mental health trusts must now come under the microscope.'

Hooper had suffered from schizophrenia for 20 years and had been place in a secure hospital in 1991 after stabbing his father.

In 1997 he was given an absolute discharge, although he was on regular medication.

On April 24, 2006 it was established that he had stopped taking his medication - making it 'predictable' that he might harm someone again.

A month later he attacked his friend Mr Rayner with an axe and drove off with the headless body in his car.

Hooper was ordered to be detained indefinitely in a secure hospital after admitting manslaughter, and the independent investigation started into his treatment using the services of the former Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

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