Trust under fire for failing to find bed for schizophrenic who went on to stab his mother

Peter Holboll

Peter Holboll - Credit: Archant

Camden and Islington NHS Trust (C&I) has come under fire for failing to find a hospital bed for a paranoid schizophrenic when he begged for help days before stabbing his mother to death.

The murder scene in Lawford Road, Kentish Town, following the death of Tamara Holboll in May 2014

The murder scene in Lawford Road, Kentish Town, following the death of Tamara Holboll in May 2014 - Credit: Archant

Peter Holboll, 44, was sent back to his mother’s home on May 7 2014 when no beds were available.

Two days later he repeatedly knifed Tamara Holboll, 76, to death before setting fire to her flat in Lawford Road, Kentish Town.

In November 2014, Holboll was found guilty of manslaughter and two counts of arson and was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.

An independent investigation, published last week, reveals that Holboll and his mother had pleaded with mental health professionals to take him into hospital as he was hearing voices instructing him to kill her.

It concludes Mrs Holboll’s death should have been predicted and could have been prevented.

It says the root causes of the killing were the failure to find a bed and the decision to treat him at home with his mother.

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Mr Holboll, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, had been under the care of C&I for 20 years and had been receiving treatment as an outpatient. On May 7 2014, Mrs Holboll and her son made repeated calls to the mental health team reporting he was having hallucinations and threatening to kill her.

After an urgent assessment of Mr Holboll at the Peckwater Centre, in Kentish Town, staff decided he needed an acute bed. But they were told: “There are no beds.” The bed request was then passed down to a different team and was eventually cancelled.

The investigaion was commissioned in December 2015 by NHS England. The report makes 12 recommendations, including that C&I should improve its risk assessments and make operational changes to its bed management system. It also recommended that “every patient who is identified by mental health services as requiring a mental health bed in London should be allocated a bed.”

A C&I spokesman said: “Based on the findings of three separate investigations, C&I and its health care partners have put in place a range of improvements to our services, including risk assessment and bed management, to try to ensure a similar incident cannot happen again. We fully accept the recommendations of the latest, independent investigation.”