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Mentally unstable axe murderer's killings "could not be foreseen"

John Jenkin
John Jenkin

No-one could foresee that a mentally-ill man discharged from hospital would go on to bludgeon his mother and sister to death with an axe less than 48 hours later, a coroner has ruled.

John Jenkin, 25, was marked as "zero" risk to himself and others on a scale of 0 to 10 by a mental health nurse more than five hours after a suicide bid in which he slashed his wrists and attempted to drown himself in the sea.

Jenkin was also said to have taken a cocktail of whisky, painkillers, LSD and synthetic cannabis Spice.

Following his release, the loner axed to death University of Wales student Katie Jenkin, 20, and machine operator Alice McMeekin, 58, at the family home in Newton Street, Millom, Cumbria, on June 8 2013.

Jenkin had undergone a 90-minute assessment at Dane Garth mental health unit within the grounds of Furness General Hospital two days earlier.

He was not deemed fit for admission and was sent home with his mother after agreeing to a referral for cognitive behavioural therapy in the weeks to follow

Recording verdicts of unlawful killing, HM Coroner for Cumbria David Roberts said: "There is undoubtedly a possibility that had his risk assessment been higher and had there been further contact with the mental health service the following day that the additional impact may have helped him.

"But those possible meetings never took place and that is a matter of speculation.

"I am still clear that whatever may have been concluded in working with this young man, no-one could have seen that he would bludgeon his mother and sister to death."

Jenkin pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court last March to two counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility following evidence that he was suffering from a schizo-affected disorder.

He was later sentenced to serve a minimum term of 13 years and four months before he can be considered for parole.

Mr Roberts told the joint inquests at Barrow Town Hall that he was satisfied that Jenkin was mentally unwell when he made his suicide bid on June 6.