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Health Trust Fined After Mentally Ill Patient Kill


Active Member
Sep 10, 2004
An NHS trust has been fined for one of the most serious breaches of health and safety regulations after a psychiatric nurse was bludgeoned to death by a mentally ill patient.

An Old Bailey judge heavily censured the South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust for a series of failures which led to the killing.

It is the first case brought by the Health and Safety Executive against the NHS in which an NHS employee has died. The case was considered so serious by City of London magistrates that they referred it to the Crown Court last month.

Eshan Chattun, a nurse at Springfield mental hospital, part of the trust, had been left alone on 17 June 2003 to supervise Joseph Cann, an aggressive and potentially violent patient, who had been detained under the Mental Health Act earlier in the day. Mr Chattun, 43, had no walkie-talkie or personal alarm and the wall alarm was broken. Cann was being held in a locked lobby area where he was being kept under observation.

Although he had been told not to enter the lobby, Mr Chattun did so for reasons that remained unexplained, the court heard. Cann, who had been agitated and very upset, attacked him and the nurse died in a pool of blood from multiple injuries. Part of his ear was severed during the assault.

The trust admitted neglect which contributed to the death. It pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which stipulates that every employer has a duty "to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all his employees". Judge Gerald Gordon fined the trust £28,000 and ordered it to pay £14,000 costs.