independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Mum killer now faces new sentence for murder of stranger

Nicola Edgington

A woman who killed her mother faces a life sentence today for killing a stranger in the street.

Nicola Edgington, 32, was found guilty last month of murdering grandmother Sally Hodkin, 58, and attempting to murder Kerry Clark, 22.

She attacked the two strangers in Bexleyheath, south-east London, in October 2011.

Edgington had been ordered to be detained indefinitely after stabbing her mother nine times and pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

But doctors ruled she was well enough to be treated in the community after three years.

After two years of being monitored by a psychiatrist, nurse and social worker, her life began to unravel.

She sought help at a local hospital but after delays in admitting her, she walked out and attacked the two women in the street.

Miss Clark managed to fight her off and take a knife from her.

But Edgington walked round a corner, took a larger knife from a butchers and almost decapitated Mrs Hodkin.

A psychiatrist told the court that Edgington had been wrongly diagnosed and had a borderline personality disorder not a mental illness.

She was remanded in custody to be sentenced to a life term when the judge will decide on the minimum term she will serve.

The family of Mrs Hodkin later demanded to know why Edgington was freed to kill again.

They said: "We cannot quite understand how or why Nicola Edgington was released back into society so soon after killing her own mother.

"Her release in 2009 didn't involve any independent psychiatrists or mental health tribunals; the Ministry of Justice simply followed recommendations from the Bracton Centre where she was being held.

"This cannot have been the right decision.

"It is our opinion that this woman should never be released back into society. The public need to be protected from people like her."

Shortly before the killing, Edgington had been taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, in a disturbed state.

She made a series of phone calls and later 999 calls.

In one call, she said: "I'm a very dangerous schizophrenic. If you don't come and help me I'm going end up hurting someone."

There was a delay in transferring her to the Oxleas House mental health unit there and Edgington walked out before she could be admitted.

Stephen Firn, the chief executive of the trust, said later: "It is a matter of extreme regret that she was able to leave the unit before being admitted and subsequently carried out this dreadful crime."

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "The decision to discharge Nicola Edgington in 2009 was made by officials, without reference to ministers, under authority which is delegated as a matter of routine by the Secretary of State."

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