Peter Holboll case: Mental health trust ‘could not have envisaged’ bed shortages when it closed 100 beds

Peter Holboll

Peter Holboll - Credit: Archant

The mental health service that refused to admit schizophrenic killer Peter Holboll to hospital has insisted it could not have “reasonably” predicted that cutting 100 beds would lead to the bed pressures which may have contributed to the decision.

Mr Holboll, 45, was told to remain at his mother Tamara’s flat in Kentish Town at a time when Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health care in Camden, had no available inpatient beds.

Two days later he stabbed Mrs Holboll, 76, to death before setting her flat ablaze, endangering five people living above.

The Holbolls had pleaded with several staff members at the trust to take him into hospital care in the days leading up to the killing in May.

The trust this week insisted it could not have “reasonably envisaged three years ago”, when it closed the beds, that it would have faced “growing pressure from new service users”.

It also repeatedly refused to confirm whether the fact that all its beds were full was the reason that Mr Holboll was not admitted.

It responded to a series of questions about its conduct submitted by the Ham&High by claiming it would be “inappropriate” to reveal any details ahead of an inquest.

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It did say that serious incidents occur “in every hospital in the country” and that it would seek to learn from the case to “significantly reduce” the chance of similar incidents happening in the future.

The trust also took a swipe at the press for “simplifying” the case, adding: “Our policy remains that we don’t turn people away who need a bed.”