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Mentally ill killer Barry Levitt had sought help from hospital

Barry Levitt Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Barry Levitt pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Celia Levitt by reason of diminished responsibility

A mentally ill killer strangled his mother the day after she took him to a hospital to get help, before being sent away.

Barry Levitt, 36, attacked his 68-year-old mother at his home in south-east London, on 31 August.

Celia Levitt was visiting him following a deterioration in his mental health.

Levitt was placed under an indefinite hospital order at the Old Bailey after admitting manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

'Suicidal thoughts'

Levitt, who also stabbed his mother with a knitting needle and smothered her with a pillow, pleaded guilty on 9 January.

He had been detained under the Mental Health Act in 2015 when his mental state deteriorated but eventually recovered, the court heard.

He relapsed in August last year after he had stopped taking his medication in December 2017.

On 27 August, his aunt, Liz Tyrell, took him to the Princess Royal Hospital in Orpington, Kent, because he was "increasingly anxious and suffering from suicidal thoughts", the court was told.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said Levitt was given medication "but it was not thought necessary to admit him".

He saw his GP the following day but was also not assessed as psychotic, the prosecutor said.

Help 'in vain'

Levitt's mother arrived from her home in France on 29 August and took him back to the same hospital the next day but he was again deemed not to require treatment, Mr Atkinson told the court.

After his arrest, Levitt told a mental health nurse "his general problem was constant feelings of panic and anxiety which he attributed to his previous misuse of nitrous oxide".

He told police there was a "game in this life" in which you have to perform "certain tasks" to get to the next stage.

Referencing a statement from Levitt's father, Mr Atkinson added: "There had been occasions in the past when in his view the NHS had let him, Barry and the family down, not least in August 2018 when those two occasions were presented for Mr Levitt to have been admitted to hospital."

Ms Tyrell said "attempts that she and Celia Levitt had made to help the defendant in those last days before the killing had been in vain".

In sentencing, Judge Paul Dodgson told him: "She was killed because she came to your aid. When she heard you had relapsed, she came from France to help you in any way she could.

"You, in your mentally deranged state, killed her."

The judge said he was "sure that this killing was attributable to [his] mental disorder".

The Princess Royal Hospital said Levitt was treated by the mental health team from Oxleas, an NHS mental health trust, and was under the care of his GP, and was not assessed by the hospital's in-house team.

Oxleas has been approached for comment.

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