Bristol hostel killing of Robert Cox prompts housing review

Robert Cox
Image caption Robert Cox died in hospital after being found with stab wounds inflicted on him by fellow hostel resident Derek Hancock

Housing options for homeless people in Bristol are being reviewed following an inquiry into how a man came to be killed at a council-backed hostel.

Action comes after a serious case review said lack of 24-hour supported housing was a factor in the case.

Derek Hancock, 42, stabbed Robert Cox, 24, at a hostel in August 2013.

Bristol City Council said a specialist crisis centre was set up and longer-term options for people would be part of the review.

In the wake of the stabbing, the crisis centre containing 10 beds was set up in 2014 offering 24-hour support.

There are a total of 1,100 bed spaces in Bristol for people who are "on a pathway out of homelessness" the council said.

'Robust risk assessment'

They receive high, medium or low level of support according to their needs.

Nick Hooper, service director for housing and crime reduction at the council, said: "What we expect is that people stay in those high support services for a relatively short period of time while support is put in place and they get their life back under a degree of control.

"Then they would move onto medium level support and stay longer there and we would often inevitably need more bed spaces there."

The review will also look at the range of housing options, drug treatment and other support for homeless people.

Other changes prompted by the report include a more robust risk assessment of the hostel residents.

Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption Derek Hancock was sentenced life imprisonment after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility

Mr Hooper said: "It was a really, really shocking incident, occasionally we do have this sort of incident but I can't remember a previous occasion when someone was killed.

"The report said this was not predictable - even if we had all these other safeguards in place it still could have happened.

"But I believe the things we are doing will make it much less likely."

The housing review is expected to take 12 months to complete.

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