Health staff visited murder suspect before death

AN investigation is underway after it emerged a man arrested on suspicion of murder had been seen by mental health workers just days before a mother-of-three was attacked and killed.

Laurence Cawley

AN investigation is underway after it emerged a man arrested on suspicion of murder had been seen by mental health workers just days before a mother-of-three was attacked and killed.

John Mcfarlane, 40, of Bury St Edmunds, was arrested by police on suspicion of murder after police found Mary Griffiths fighting for life at her home in Bullrush Crescent on May 6.

It is understood Mr Mcfarlane, who was rushed into West Suffolk Hospital after the incident with self-inflicted injuries, had tried to take his own life in the days before Ms Griffiths' death.


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Suffolk Mental Health Partnership has now launched an investigation into its own handling of his case.

Mark Halladay, chief executive of the mental health trust, said: “We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mary Griffiths and our thoughts are with her family and friends.

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“Although it would not be appropriate to comment in detail on the incident at this stage, I can confirm that the Trust is carrying out an internal review of its contacts and will be working with other agencies, including the police, to clarify what happened.

“We will see if there are any immediate actions that we need to take, will, of course, cooperate fully with any subsequent review into the matter."

Ms Griffiths - described by her family as their “beloved angel” - later died at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury of a deep chest wound.

Because Mr Mcfarlane was sectioned after the incident, police have been unable to question him in connection with the case. He remains in the care of the mental health trust, which runs inpatient units in both Bury and Ipswich.

The move by Suffolk Mental Partnership Trust, with whom Mr Mcfarlane will be detained, means he has been deemed unfit to be questioned and the police will not to be able to re-arrest him or question him unless he is declared mentally well enough by doctors.

A spokeswoman for the police said the force was continuing its investigation into the death of Ms Griffiths.

Suffolk police has referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for the way it dealt with initial calls from Ms Griffiths expressing her concerns for her safety prior to her death.

A spokesman for the IPCC said yesterday its investigation was still ongoing and said it did not yet have an idea as to when its probe into the force's handling of the case would be completed.

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