Questions over mental health care of husband killer

Geraint Hughes Geraint Hughes was stabbed by his wife, Marion

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The family of a mentally ill woman from Cornwall who killed her husband say questions should be asked about her care before the tragedy.

At Truro Crown Court last week, Marion Hughes, 59, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Geraint Hughes on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The day before the stabbing, health staff said her readmission should have been considered, her trial was told.

The Cornwall NHS Foundation Trust said investigations would be carried out.

'Distressing decline'

Mrs Hughes killed her husband at their home in Feock, near Truro, last November.

Start Quote

In many ways it feels like our lives have been torn apart”

End Quote Jemma Hughes

She used to be a GP in Helston but suffered episodes of depression and was admitted to hospital after a severe bout in 2012.

The court heard she was suffering from psychotic delusions and health professionals said her readmission should be considered.

Her son, Mark, a health professional, said: "Seeing her decline was very, very distressing.

"But I never appreciated how serious it [any mental health issue] was until these tragic events and the aftermath of what came out of that."

His wife, Jemma, a psychiatrist, said the impact had been "unimaginably difficult".

She said: "In many ways it feels like our lives have been torn apart.

Depression - Who is affected?

  • About two in three adults have depression at some time in their life
  • One in four women and 1 in 10 men will require treatment for it at some point
  • The average length of an episode of depression is six to eight months
  • 4% of children suffer from anxiety or depression

Source: Patient.co.uk

"I think there are certainly unanswered questions. Our main priority is to assist in these investigations as best we can."

Trust medical director Dr Ellen Wilkinson said such events were "extremely rare, tragic and unpredictable" and an independent investigator and an experienced external clinician were to look into the case.

She said: "With the conclusion of the police investigation and conviction, we are now able to begin our own investigations.

"We will ensure the family has opportunities to ask any questions they may have."

A further independent review was undertaken by NHS England, she said.

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