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Schizophrenic Serial Killer: Who is Culpable?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009 Schizophrenic Serial Killer: Who is Culpable?

Crime Correspondent of the Telegraph Richard Edwards (03 03 09) covers the story of a schizophrenic who murdered four people in three days was failed by inadequate NHS treatment that could have preventing him going on to become a serial killer. Thus who is culpable with systematic negligence?

Over a period of seven years Daniel Gonzales had nearly 60 appointments with doctors and psychiatrists thus it can be safe to evaluate that this man’s condition was well documented. Such was his illness, Gonzales own mother wrote to his MP asking whether her son had to kill someone before he was given proper treatment. Gonzales himself at the age of 24 wrote to his own GP Pleading to be admitted to hospital for help prior to the killings.

The NHS South East Coast and Surrey County Council commissioned an independent report and its findings were that Daniel Gonzales was not treated successfully and health professionals never engaged effectively with him.

Furthermore, the findings went on to stress that there were many missed opportunities and more specifically an array of failure, more specifically carers were in effect, unable to understand his mental needs.

According to Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, who wrote the paper, said yesterday: “This was a case where things went wrong early on and did not recover.

“Overall Mr Gonzales was not treated successfully. We cannot say with certainty that he could have been, but we can and do say that the way he was treated was not likely to succeed and did not succeed.”

The barrister continued: “We found that this was a case of general and specific missed opportunities to address his mental health needs.

“The evidence is that with a few exceptions, the professionals were never really able to engage Mr Gonzales, so as to maximise the possibility that he would accept advice.”

Gonzales, a drug addict, was given six life sentences. He was held at Broadmoor top security hospital and was found dead in his cell in 2007 after slashing his wrists with CDs.

His murder victims were Derek Robinson, 75, and his wife Jean, 68, from Highgate, North London; Kevin Molloy, 46, who was killed in Tottenham, North London, on September 17, 2004; and Marie Harding, 73, who was killed two days earlier near Worthing, West Sussex. He also tried to kill Peter King, 61, in Portscreek, Portsmouth, on September 15, and Koumis Constantinou, 59, at his home in Hornsey, North London, on September 17.

The report also found doctors could not have predicted his capacity for such extreme violence.

Fiona Edwards, Chief Executive of Surrey and Borders partnership NHS foundation trust, said: “The trust accepts that more should have been done to engage Mr Gonzales while he was being cared for up to the date of the murders in 2004.”

A statement from the family of Gonzales said: “We hope very much that the recommendations are acted upon so no-one else suffers in the way the victims and their families have.”

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