May Stokoe death: 'Missed chances' to identify husband's risk

James and May Stokoe James Stokoe had been diagnosed with cancer

Related Stories

The death of a woman who was stabbed by her husband could have been prevented if missed opportunities had been identified, a review has found.

May Stokoe, 79, was attacked by her husband of 56 years, James, also 79, in a bedroom at their Sunderland home in May 2013. He then killed himself.

Before their deaths, Mr Stokoe spoke about hurting or killing his wife.

However, he was "at no point" classed as a "high risk" to others, a domestic homicide review has found.

At an inquest in January it was concluded Mr Stokoe killed himself and his wife was unlawfully killed.

The domestic homicide review, which was carried out by the Safer Sunderland Partnership and refers to the couple as Mr Y and Mrs Y, covers the year leading up to their deaths.

The review found Mr Stokoe had a history of depression and had also been diagnosed with cancer.

'Virtually invisible'

In March 2013, Mr Stokoe was found by his daughter-in-law during what appeared to be a suicide attempt. As a result, he had regular visits with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust's (NTW) Mental Health Crisis Team.

One of the "key concerns" identified by the review was that Mrs Stokoe remained "virtually invisible" despite her presence during much of her husband's contact with NTW and "little was known" about her experiences or views throughout the period.

It was also found that at "no stage" was she considered as a potential victim of abuse or violence and as a result remained outside of all subsequent assessments and decision making.

Scene of Sunderland bodies' find The police said the couple were discovered on the bed in the rear bedroom

Mrs Stokoe had also disclosed two days before their deaths that her husband had accused her of having affairs and of spending his money.

The review found that "at no point" was Mr Stokoe assessed by NTW as presenting a high risk to others, namely Mrs Stokoe, and as such no action was taken to directly manage this.

However, it was noted that staff had not had "specific training" in relation to domestic abuse, therefore they could not be "reasonably expected" to have such knowledge.

The review panel concluded that although Mrs Stokoe's death was not predictable, it could have been prevented in light of the missed opportunities.

Chair of the review, Michelle Meldrum, said: "This was a tragic case and deeply distressing for all those involved. I would like to express my sincere condolences to their family.

"We are determined to learn from this and have already taken action to address each and every one of the recommendations it makes."

The panel recommended 10 recommendations as a result of the review, including mandatory domestic violence training for front-line staff.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Tyne & Wear

Weather

Newcastle upon Tyne

17 °C 14 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    News on the hour 14:59:

    The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

     
  2.  
    Share your views 14:51:

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place. Tell us what you think.

     
  3.  
    Blaze tackled at Teesport 14:39: Northern Echo Newspaper

    A machinery fire led to a full-scale chemical alert at a Teesside port after fears were raised that hazardous materials could be involved.

     
  4.  
    Poyet peeved with the drizzle 14:28:

    Sunderland boss Gus Poyet looks less than impressed after the North East weather conspired against plans for the team's photo call.

    Gus Poyet
     
  5.  
    Drugs gang jailed for £1m haul 14:13:

    A gang who attempted to smuggle high quality cocaine into County Durham and across the North of England have been sentenced to a total of 57 years in prison.

    The 12 men from the North East, Leeds, Lancashire and Merseyside were arrested after the police seized cocaine and cannabis with a street value of about £1m.

    The purity of some of the cocaine recovered was put at 91%, which Durham Police says shows the gang were at the very top of the drugs chain.

     
  6.  
    News on the hour 14:00:

    The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

     
  7.  
    Woman 'dragged along by train' 13:52:

    A woman passenger was dragged 60ft (20m) along a platform by a departing train at Newcastle Central Station after getting her wrist trapped in a door, an accident report reveals.

    She was forced to move with the train, operated by First TransPennine Express, to avoid being pulled off her feet, the report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch said.

    The conductor did not see her because on the curved-shaped platform because he did not do a final safety check before dispatching the train at 5.02pm on on 5 June 2013, the report said.

     
  8.  
    Carver sorry over fan row 13:41:

    Newcastle United assistant manager John Carver has said sorry after an altercation with a fan at the weekend.

    He said: "In the warm-up, I was disappointed to see banners that could, in my opinion, distract the players and take focus away from the job in hand - namely winning the match.

    John Carver

    "I went over to our fans to ask them to help us and requested that they take the banners down. I was met with abuse from one supporter and I regret that I responded inappropriately. I sincerely apologise for any offence caused by my reaction."

     
  9.  
    House fire: family evacuated 13:25: The Gazette Newspaper

    A family were evacuated after their Stockton home caught fire in the early hours of this morning.

     
  10.  
    Mist lingering at coast 13:13: Kay Crewdson Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

    It'll be mostly cloudy through the day with mist lingering near the coast. The best of any brighter spells are most likely across western areas.

    Weather forecast

    Maximum temperature: 19C (66F). Check today's forecast near you.

     
  11.  
    News on the hour 12:59:

    The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

     
  12.  
    Cleaners to strike 12:50: Cara Thorpe BBC Newcastle

    Cleaners who work on the East Coast mainline are to strike again in a row over pay.

    ISS workers who are members of the RMT union plan to walk out next Monday and Tuesday. Picket lines will be in place at stations along East Coast routes.

     
  13.  
    Father Ted lays 100,000th Lego brick 12:40:

    The 100,000th Lego brick has now been added to a model of Durham Cathedral.

    The lucky bricklayer was The Rev Ted Drayton who was presented with a medal from the Dean of Durham, The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove.

    100,000th lego brick laid

    The scale representation of the cathedral was started in July 2013 by television presenter and historian Jonathan Foyle.

     
  14.  
    Last resident to leave care home 12:28: Cara Thorpe BBC Newcastle

    Retired head teacher Donald Robson, 83, will be the last of the 24 residents to leave Newtown House in Stanhope later today, as it's closed down by Durham County Council.

    His daughter-in-law Michelle says: "Looking after our elderly is something where we should be ploughing all our money. It's just a travesty for our community and nationwide."

    Durham County Council says financial pressures have made it impossible to fund in-house care, and it has worked with residents and their families to help them find alternative accommodation.

     
  15.  
    On the lunchtime Look North 12:15: Colin Briggs BBC Look North

    We'll have the latest on the bus crash in North Yorkshire where more than a dozen students have been injured and taken to hospital. It's thought there are no major injuries at this time.

    Van and bus collision

    Watch BBC Look North at 13:30 on BBC One.

     
  16.  
    News on the hour 11:59:

    The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

     
  17.  
    Man remains in custody 11:50: Lloyd Watson BBC News

    I've spoken to Northumbria Police who say a 29-year-old man remains in custody after being arrested in connection with a rape in Newcastle.

    The force also confirmed the alleged rape in Westgate Road that is thought to have taken place in the early hours of Sunday is not linked to a rape that was reported in Ohso nightclub on Tuesday.

     
  18.  
    Student suffers broken nose in crash 11:40:

    A student with a broken nose is among a group of 14 students injured when their bus crashed with a van, Darlington College has revealed in a statement.

    "Approximately 14 college students have been taken to hospital with injuries after the bus they were travelling in collided with a transit van at Aldbrough earlier today," the statement continued.

    "None of the students are thought to be seriously injured." Police had previously said 20 students had been injured.

     
  19.  
    Emergency services present 11:26: Claudia Robinson BBC Tees

    This is the police at the scene of the bus crash which injured some 20 Darlington College students. We're expecting more details from officers later.

    Police at the scene
     
  20.  
    Students taken to hospital 11:13:

    About 20 Darlington College students suffered injuries after a van and a bus crashed with a van.

    Cath McCall from Darlington College has told BBC Tees: "We don't know a great deal. We've got college staff at the scene and we've got a college counsellor there and we've sent a college minibus, and we're trying to ascertain as much as we can about what's actually happened.

    "The most important thing is that the students are ok and parents have been informed. There are some injuries, students have been taken to hospital, but the students are all ok."

     
  21.  
    Photo from the scene 10:59: Claudia Robinson BBC Tees

    This is the first photo from the scene of a crash between a bus and a van which happened on an unclassified road between Aldbrough St John and Piercebridge, near Darlington, at 08:40. Twenty students from Darlington college have been injured. Listen live to BBC Tees.

    Bus crash near Darlington
     
  22.  
    'Traumatic time for students' 10:46:

    A bus carrying students to Darlington College has crashed.

    Cath McCall from Darlington College has told BBC Tees: "It's very traumatic for the students. We're a close-knit community here and we care about our students a great deal. My understanding is that they were travelling from North Yorkshire and I'm told they were on a Dales and District bus heading into college, a journey they've done many times.

    "We're doing everything we can, we've got an excellent team of student support staff, we've got staff over there, we've got trained college counsellors, we will do everything we can to make sure they're ok."

     
  23.  
    Students were from Darlington College 10:39:

    Darlington College has confirmed that the 20 people injured in a bus crash this morning were students there.

     
  24.  
    Artist leaves Middlesbrough for first time 10:25:

    A Middlesbrough artist has left his home town for the first time to see one of his paintings exhibited at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

    Dave Watson, who is described as Teesside's Lowry, started painting in the 1950s but ended up making his living painting the sides of ships instead.

    Artist Dave Watson

    At the age of 70 he is finally finding recognition.

     
  25.  
    College told of bus crash 10:17:

    Darlington College has been informed that a bus which was on its way to the site has crashed, injuring 20 students.

    Witnesses to the collision at 08:40 on an unclassified road between Aldbrough St John and Piercebridge, near Darlington, are asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option two and ask for Traffic Sergeants Hamish Halloway, or Graham Waller.

     
  26.  
    Bus was on way to Darlington College

    More on the bus crash - it was en-route to Darlington College and 20 students have sustained what police are calling minor injuries

    The crash with a van happened at 08:40 on an unclassified road between Aldbrough St John and the road which leads to Piercebridge, near Darlington.

    The driver of the van has sustained leg injuries and the driver of the bus suffered minor injuries.

     
  27.  
    News on the hour 10:00:

    The top local headlines at 10:00 include:

    • BBC Tees: A road has been sealed off after a crash between a school bus and a van.
    • BBC Newcastle: Police have revealed more details about the number of potential victims they've been speaking to as part of Operation Sanctuary.
     
  28.  
    School bus and van crash BBC Tees

    A road has been sealed off after a crash between a school bus and a van. It happened on the road between Piercebridge and Aldbrough St John, two miles west of Darlington.

    Police believe there's only minor injuries involving the 20 children on board the bus. Both drivers have suffered leg injuries.

     
  29.  
    Eat your breakfast 09:34: David Rhodes Politics Reporter, BBC North East and Cumbria

    Rule number one of political reporting while on the road - eat your breakfast (you might not eat again all day). There's everything you need to know about the Scottish referendum here.

    A full breakfast
     
  30.  
    Give us your feedback 09:22:

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  31.  
    Armstrong to voice Danger Mouse 09:11:

    Pointless host Alexander Armstrong, who was born in Northumberland, will voice Danger Mouse when the much-loved cartoon hero returns to TV next year.

    The comic actor, also known for his TV shows with Ben Miller, said voicing the character was "about as close to a dream job as you could wish for".

    Alexander Armstrong and Danger Mouse

    Armstrong takes over from Sir David Jason, who voiced the eye patch-sporting "DM" in ITV's original series from 1981 to 1992. Kevin Eldon will voice trusty sidekick Penfold, Terry Scott's old character.

     
  32.  
    Top headlines
     
  33.  
    News on the hour 08:58:

    The top local headlines at 09:00 include:

    • BBC Newcastle: Police have revealed more details about the number of potential victims they've been speaking to as part of Operation Sanctuary.
    • BBC Tees: An 83-year-old great-grandfather is spending his final day at the County Durham care home where he lives.
     
  34.  
    'Half of victims under 16' 08:47: Cara Thorpe BBC Newcastle

    Police have revealed how many victims they are dealing with as part of Operation Sanctuary - the investigation into allegations of sexual offences on Tyneside.

    The inquiry began in January into allegations concerning vulnerable women and young girls. Northumbria Police has now revealed that almost half of the 81 potential victims are under 16.

    To date, there have been 129 arrests as part of the operation and 21 charges. Seven cases have been dealt with at court.

     
  35.  
    Rape arrest in Newcastle 08:34:

    A 29-year-old man has been arrested after a woman was raped in Newcastle. The victim said she was attacked in a property in the Westgate Road area in the early hours of Sunday, Northumbria Police said.

    Detectives believe the woman left the Pink Rooms nightclub in the city with a man at about 03:00. They want to speak to three women and a man who were outside the club at the same time.

     
  36.  
    'Bowling not to get a wicket' 08:24:

    After Christopher Rushworth took 15 wickets in one afternoon against Northants and nine out of the 10 wickets in the first innings, Ben Stokes (who got one of the 10) tweeted: Can I just say...I was actually bowling to not get a wicket today for @rushworth22 who deserved 10fer,best spell of bowling I've ever seen

     
  37.  
    Drizzle in places 08:15: Kay Crewdson Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

    A dull and murky start with fog and some drizzle in places. Remaining mostly cloudy through the day with mist lingering near the coast. The best of any brighter spells are most likely across western areas such as Consett.

    Weather forecast

    Maximum Temperature: 18C (64F). Check today's forecast near you.

     
  38.  
    Busy but moving 08:05:

    The A1231 Queen Alexandra Bridge in Sunderland is busy but moving between the B1405 Pallion New Road junction and the A1290 Queens Road junction.

    There's the usual build-up across Teesside but no major incidents. More on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

     
  39.  
    Good morning 08:00: Lloyd Watson BBC News

    Welcome to BBC Local Live. I'll be bringing you news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East.

    If you'd like us to feature your comments or pictures, send them to us by email, tweet us @BBCNewsNE or join our Facebook page.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.