Charity admits failing to protect killed psychology graduate
February 2, 2010
A mental health charity has pleaded guilty to failing to protect a support worker stabbed to death during a home visit to a service user.
Psychology graduate Ashleigh Ewing, 22, was killed in Newcastle in May 2006 by Ronald Dixon while she was working for Sunderland-based charity Mental Health Matters.
Ms Ewing was delivering a letter alone on behalf of a colleague to Dixon’s flat, and was six months into her first full-time job after graduating from Northumbria University.
At Newcastle Crown Court this week Mental Health Matters admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which requires employers to ensure the "health, safety and welfare at work" of employees.
The charity faces an unlimited fine.
A court had heard that months before the killing, and in front of a psychiatric nurse, Dixon filled in an application form for disability living allowance warning that he was dangerous.
Police had said Dixon had been receiving voluntary psychiatric treatment since being convicted of causing grievous bodily harm after attacking his parents with a hammer in 1994.
Dixon, who had paranoid schizophrenia, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility in October 2007.
He was ordered to be detained indefinitely at a high-security mental health facility.
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