Kaysley Smithen: Health trust 'sorry' after son kills mother

Image source, Irwin Mitchell
Image caption,
Janice Smithen sought help for her son Kaysley 18 months before he attacked her

The family of a mother killed by her mentally ill son has received an apology from an NHS trust, five years after her death.

Kaysley Smithen was given an indefinite hospital order for attacking his mother Janice in their home at Spring Hill, Hockley, Birmingham in July 2012.

An investigation found her death may have been prevented if Smithen had been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Birmingham and Solihull's mental health trust apologised for "distress" caused.

In a letter sent to Mrs Smithen's sister Samantha, the trust's chief executive John Short said: "I cannot begin to imagine the distress and sorrow the loss of your sister has caused.

He added: "I am sorry the trust added to that distress by not conveying an apology to you."

Mrs Smithen, 46, suffered fatal head injuries when she was attacked by her teenage son with a weights bar.

Smithen had been prescribed medication, which he often refused to take. He became increasingly paranoid, claiming his mother was trying to poison him.

A review of the case, published by Birmingham's Community Safety Partnership in 2013, said Mrs Smithen's death was "potentially preventable".

It said if health workers had contacted police about Smithen's behaviour, officers could have detained him.

The trust agreed an out-of-court settlement with Mrs Smithen's family after denying it was legally liable for her death.

Samantha said: "For the trust to deny legal responsibility for its failings in looking after Kaysley just added to the hurt, anger and pain our family have had to suffer since Janice's death.

"We are pleased the trust has now officially apologised."

Christopher Hurlston, from legal firm Irwin Mitchell, said: "While it may be five years too late, we are pleased the trust has finally apologised to Janice's family."