Fri, 29 Jun 2012
An NHS Trust and the ex owner of a care home where a worker was killed by a patient have been convicted of breaching health and safety rules.
Stephen Flatt, a patient at Abacus House, Dunstable, Beds, was ordered to be detained at a mental health unit in 2009 for killing Kathleen Bainbridge.
Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust, which placed Flatt in the home, was found guilty by a jury.
Former owner Chelvanayagam Menna was also convicted at Luton Crown Court.
Menna, 58, of Periwinkle Lane, Dunstable, was found guilty of contravening a health and safety regulation by failing to carry out a risk assessment and two charges of failing to discharge a duty.
Sentence on both the trust and Menna was adjourned until next month so Judge Michael Baker QC can be provided with details of each defendant's finances.
Flatt arrived at Abacus House in July 2007 and the following month stabbed Mrs Bainbridge to death.
Rex Tedd QC, prosecuting, said the home was not "geared up" to be able to cope with Flatt, who suffered from bipolar disorder.
The court was told Flatt, who had lived in the St Albans area, had a history of mental problems going back to the late 1970s.
He had been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. In the past he had been violent and was convicted of assaulting his father and a policeman.
On New Year's Day 2007 Flatt, who was 55, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and put in a number of units before being sent to Abacus House.
The jury heard it was around this time that both his elderly parents died.
Mr Tedd said Abacus House had been a "highly unsuitable" care home for Flatt.
He said staff at the residential care home were not trained either in dealing with patients suffering from bipolar disorder or in managing the condition.
The jury was told the trust had never sent anyone to Abacus House before Flatt.
Mr Tedd said: "The trust had a duty to ensure that staff and residents at the new placement were not put at risk. The prosecution say the trust failed in that duty."
The trust was found guilty of contravening a health and safety regulation by failing to make a suitable assessment of the risk Flatt posed.
It was also convicted of a second charge of failing to discharge a duty to ensure persons not in its employment were exposed to risks to their health and safety.