Cornwall

Fire death man's brother warns of mental care 'time bombs'

Ben and Patricia Philpotts Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Ben and Patricia Philpotts were found dead in their house

The brother of a man thought to have killed his son and wife in Cornwall claims budget cuts mean mentally ill people are being released like "time bombs" into the community.

Harold Philpotts, who had depression, died in 2010 after a fire at his home near Newquay. His wife and son were found dead at the scene.

Don Philpotts said he was concerned financial pressures affected services.

Health officials said the deaths could not have been prevented.

Harold Philpotts, 47, died of burn injuries eight days after the house in Trevarrian burnt down in January 2010.

His son, Ben, 10, was found in the house with head injuries. Mr Philpotts was believed to have bludgeoned him to death before setting the fire.

Image caption Don Philpotts said he feared other tragedies involving mental health patients

The body of Patricia Philpotts, 44, was found in a bedroom.

Mr Philpotts had been diagnosed with depression, delusions and paranoia, an inquest in 2012 was told.

An independent report said better risk assessments should have been carried out and better communication between agencies was needed.

Don Philpotts said he feared another such tragedy could happen.

He said: "I feel strongly the situation has gone down since Harry and Ben's deaths, and there are more people released as time bombs into the community who, when the triggers are right for them, will go off."

Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption Harold Ben and Patricia Philpotts all died as result of a fire at the house in Trevarrian

He added: "If there was a brilliant service and brilliant monitoring, I'm sure a lot can be done to prevent these future tragedies.

"Financial pressures dictate otherwise."

The Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said it reiterated its condolences.

It said its own investigation, a serious case review and the independent inquiry found the events "could not have been predicted or prevented" and that "actions to address the lessons identified have been put in place".

It added there had been no reduction in mental health beds.

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