Leeds & West Yorkshire

Walking stick fatal attack at St James's Hospital Leeds an 'outrage'

St James's Hospital and Ken Godward Image copyright Stanley Walker/Godward family
Image caption Ken Godward (pictured) and Roger Lamb were beaten by a fellow patient at St James's University Hospital

An attack on two men in hospital by a mentally ill patient was a "monstrous outrage in a place where they should have been safe", a coroner has said.

Harry Bosomworth, aged 70, attacked Roger Lamb and Kenneth Godward in 2015 with a walking stick after his antipsychotic medication was stopped.

Coroner Kevin McLoughlin has concluded at the end of a week-long inquest the fatal attack was not foreseeable.

Both men died days after the attack at St James's University Hospital, Leeds.

Mental illness 'ignored'

Mr Bosomworth's step-daughter Rita Martin was critical of the hospital saying: "Harry was a victim, 100% he was a victim because from the moment he got in that hospital he was disempowered because they took his medicine away.

"I'm having to come to terms not only with the incident, the assault, but the way his mental illness was utterly ignored, not acknowledged, not treated."

Two hospital trusts admitted failings and "were working on improvements".

The inquest at Wakefield heard how Mr Bosomworth's behaviour had started to deteriorate prior to the walking stick attack, and that he was "suffering a psychotic episode" at the time and believed his home was being raided by intruders.

Recording narrative verdicts the coroner said there was no fault on the part of the hospital, that it could not have been foreseen, and that the attack was a contributory factor in each man's death.

He said: "That two men suffered in this way is a monstrous outrage, perpetrated in a hospital where they would have expected to have been safe."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Harry Bosomworth had his antipsychotic medicine stopped while at the Leeds hospital when the attack happened

Mr Lamb had been trying to help Mr Godward when he too was attacked, the inquest heard.

Witnesses told how Mr Lamb, a former civil servant, had blood on his face, and injured Mr Godward was in tears.

The coroner said: "That a 79-year-old man, who himself was suffering from his own illnesses, would go to the aid of a fellow patient speaks volumes.

"He deserves a commendation, in my submission."

Pathologist Kirsten Hope said that the blunt force trauma suffered by both men had contributed to their deaths.

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