Health trust’s pay-out to man who witnessed father’s murder in Batley Carr

HORRIFIC ATTACK Eddie Thorpe, who was killed by his son in February 2008.
HORRIFIC ATTACK Eddie Thorpe, who was killed by his son in February 2008.
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A mental health trust has paid a six-figure sum to a man who witnessed his father’s murder in Batley Carr.

Father-of-four William Thorpe – known to friends as Eddie – was beaten to death by his paranoid schizophrenic son in February 2008.

The attack took place fewer than six months after South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust staff withdrew Richard Thorpe’s anti-psychotic medication and discharged him.

Another of Eddie’s sons, Robert, witnessed the attack and has been left suffering a lifelong major depressive disorder and severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Today (Tuesday) the 28-year-old spoke out after law firm Irwin Mitchell secured him a substantial care package from the Trust.

Robert said: “We repeatedly told Richard’s psychiatrists that we believed he had schizophrenia because he would talk of voices in his head and his behaviour was very erratic.

“However, it seemed to fall on deaf ears as he was never diagnosed with the disorder and we were left feeling frustrated and felt they weren’t taking his condition seriously.”

The Trust accepted withdrawing Richard’s prescription for anti-psychotic medication in or around September 2007.

It also admitted that it failed to diagnose his schizophrenia, to adequately risk assess him and to warn him and his family of the risk of relapse upon withdrawing medication.

Director of nursing, clinical governance and safety Tim Breedon said: “The Trust reiterates sincere sympathies to those affected by this tragic case.

“The care and treatment offered to Richard Thorpe was thoroughly investigated both internally and by an external agency.

“The investigation made a number of recommendations to support improved care which have all been implemented.”

Eddie, who grew up in Thornhill, was a road sweeper for Kirklees for 23 years.

He was well-known in both Batley and Dewsbury as became the friendly face who greeted passers-by as he worked.

Richard was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and detained indefinitely under the mental health act in November 2008.

Robert said: “I feel massively let down by the Trust and no amount of money can make up for the consequences of their failings.

“I just hope that by speaking out and raising awareness of schizophrenia it encourages others to seek the help they need and shows the importance of caring properly for patients with the condition to keep them and the rest of the public safe.”

See this week’s paper for the full story.