Tayside and Central Scotland

Wife killer Neil Cumming sues NHS over mental illness

Jane Cumming
Image caption Jane Cumming was stabbed 36 times by her husband Neil in July 2011

A man who stabbed his wife to death is suing the NHS, claiming they failed to properly treat his mental illness before he carried out the attack.

Neil Cumming killed his wife Jane at their family home in Longforgan in July 2011 before deliberately crashing his car into a lorry at 100mph.

However, the 48-year-old was found not guilty of murder at the High Court by reason of insanity.

He remains in the State Hospital at Carstairs.

Cumming stabbed his wife 36 times at the home they shared with their two daughters before trying to take his own life in a high-speed car crash near Dundee.

He has now lodged a case against the NHS at the Court of Session.

It is understood he claims the health authority failed to exercise proper care towards him before the incident.

Image caption Mrs Cumming's body was discovered at the family home in Longforgan

During an earlier court appearance, it emerged doctors wanted to admit Cumming to a mental health facility the day before the killing, but could not as no beds were available.

He had a long history of mental health problems, having been diagnosed with persistent delusional disorder in 1999, believing his wife was poisoning him.

He had been admitted to the Carseview mental health unit at Ninewells Hospital the February before the killing, and at one point also thought he was being spied on at his work at Dundee's Michelin tyre factory.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC told the court in a joint minute of agreed evidence read to a jury that Jane, 40, had tried to have him re-admitted to Carseview again days before her death.

Image caption Cumming crashed his car into a lorry at more than 100mph after stabbing his wife

A community psychiatric nurse who met the couple on Thursday, 14 July concluded that Cumming's "paranoia was obvious" and wanted to admit him to the Ninewells unit to review his medication, but found no beds were available.

The following morning Cumming stabbed his wife to death before deliberately crashing his car into a lorry at more than 100mph in an attempt to kill himself.

Tests later showed he had a cocktail of drugs in his system at the time and he was arrested after lying unconscious in intensive care for several days.

Perth Sheriff Court was convened at his bedside to fully commit him for trial, but the case at the High Court in Glasgow was cut short after a judge ordered the jury to acquit Cumming by reason of insanity.

He was instead ordered to be detained without limit of time at Carstairs.

An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said: "As this is a legal matter we are unable to comment."

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