Derbyshire bank worker was stabbed to death by her uncle in ‘frenzied attack’ at caravan park, inquest hears

Lisa Butler
Lisa Butler

A mentally-ill man stabbed his niece – a Derbyshire bank worker – to death in a “frenzied attack” before turning the knife on himself, an inquest has heard.

The bodies of Richard Thompson and Lisa Butler were found by a family friend in a caravan on the Tall Trees mobile home park, off Old Mill Lane, Forest Town, Mansfield, on August 28 last year.

READ MORE: Tributes paid to much-loved Derbyshire bank worker who died of stab wounds

Lisa Butler worked at Lloyds Bank on High Street, Alfreton.

Coroner Mairin Casey warned members of their family that the post-mortem contained details that are “unavoidably graphic and terribly distressing” when she opened the inquest in Nottingham, this morning.

She said: “I want to know what happens if someone with Richard’s problems who is living in the community and has stopped taking his medication, what impact would this have and what risk it would pose to others.

“There is a risk of other future deaths if I find failings here. This was not a routine attack this was a frenzied attack.”

Forensic pathologist Dr Michael Biggs carried out the post-mortem on Mr Thompson, which found parallel wounds on his head, chest and abdomen, as well as scars on his forearms, and self-inflicted neck wounds, which he said were the fatal injuries.

Richard died “relatively rapidly from blood loss”, and no natural diseases or substances that could have contributed to his death were found.

Forensic scientist Geraldine Davidson carried out the post-mortem on Mrs Butler.

“In my opinion when considering blood patterns the findings are indicative of Lisa being stabbed in the kitchen doorway and falling to the floor until she was found and attempts to rescuscitate her were made.

“Given the blood stains on his clothes he may have sat next to Lisa where he bled extensively on to Lisa and the carpet.”

Mrs Butler died from two stab wounds to the chest and had other injuries over her body.

She was also stabbed in the face, left neck and shoulder and died as a result of multiple incised wounds to the chest.

Detective Sergeant Rob Wells, of the East Midlands Major Crime Unit, said a police officer arrived at the scene six minutes after ambulance crews raised the alarm at 10.03pm.

He described how the officer saw two people laying on the floor and the then-partner of one of Mrs Butler’s daughters doing CPR with blood on his hands.

He said: “Every Tuesday Lisa visited Richard to do his shopping. In December 2017 he tried to take his life by stabbing and he went to Millbrook for a couple of months.

“For a short while he stayed with Lisa and her family. Lisa was very much involved in helping him get rehoused to the caravan park. She and her family helped him once a week.

“She also liased with mental health professionals after he was discharged from hospital.”

The inquest heard Mr Thompson had no record of violence.

In a statement, Mr Thompson’s GP said his 2017 suicide attempt was due to lack of sleep, the upcoming anniversary of his brother and sister’s death and disagreements with neighbours.

He was admitted to the Kingsley ward, at Millbrook mental health unit, in January 2018, and was diagnosed with late-onset schizphrenia and mild cognitive impairment.

“Why was he deemed safe enough to leave the hospital?” the coroner asked.

“I think they thought this was his first episode and Lisa was so caring and willing to have him back home and because he was very guilty about what he had done,” said Dr Isu Katuwawela.

“It reads to me that it was OK for him to go and stay with Lisa. Despite using a very violent method to hurt himself, he very quickly settled on to the ward.

“He said “I don’t want to go home.” Being in a different environment that wasn’t his house and surrounded by his neighbours made him feel better.”

The coroner asked what Dr Katuwawela said to Mr Thompson after he stopped taking his medication.

“I would ask him do you know what would happen if you stopped?” she said. “That level of insight is important. Is he experiencing psychotic symptoms? Is he still feeling persecuted by anyone?”

The coroner asked what advice the doctor gave Mr Thompson and Mrs Butler when he was discharged from hospital in March.

“I stressed the importance of taking his tablets,” Dr Katuwawela said. “You harmed yourself very seriously because you thought they were persecuting you. It took over your life and that’s why you harmed yourself so badly.”

“Did you spell out to him what would happen if he stopped taking his meds?” Ms Casey asked.

“I said the medication would help lessen the significance of his feelings,” said the doctor.

Ms Casey said that the tragedy happened five or six weeks later, and asked how Mr Thompson could be managed?

“The mental health team had been asking him if he was experiencing any anxieties or feelings of persecution,” said the doctor. “At no point did we feel that he witheld information. I would ask - do you think people are watching you? Are you eating, sleeping, what does his house look like? Does he look haggard or distressed? Is he talking calmly?

He was open about what he was experiencing. He was compliant on the ward.”

“I am concerned about the monitoring of taking medication after his discharge,” said the coroner.

Dr Godfrey Akpoyibo said he met Mr Thompson on May 29, when he appeared subdued and vague and was unduly concerned about a flower coming over his wall.

Reading from his notes, the doctor said: “I explained that it might be wise to consider a more suitable medication. There is no evidence of dementia. I will reassess in four months. There were no issues of significant concern at the time.”

“I don’t see anywhere that he or Lisa was advised about the consequences of him coming off his medication?” said the coroner. “Why were you not going to see him for the next four months?

“I am troubled that you did not take the initiative to say I would like to see him you again in two or three weeks time. You should have seen this man again within four months.

“This was a very important assessment.”

The inquest continues.