Royal Edinburgh failings blamed after man kills sister

Melvin James.
Melvin James.

A son walked free from a Scottish mental health unit before stabbing his sister to death and killing himself after a series of “missed opportunities” by hospital staff, a jury has ruled.

Melvin James, 36, also repeatedly stabbed his mum Lynette, 59, before turning the knife on himself after suffering from “severe delusions” that he was a Transformers robot.

Anne-Marie James.

Anne-Marie James.

An inquest heard his mother told him ‘I love you, son’ as he plunged the knife into her body at their second-floor flat in Wolverhampton on March 8.

His sister Anne-Marie, 33, suffered 17 stab wounds, while Mr James inflicted at least 80 stab wounds on himself, and both passed away at around 11am.

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Meanwhile Lynette, who was rushed to hospital, incredibly survived the attack after locking herself in a bedroom and dialling 999.

Black County Coroners Court heard Mr James had been living in Edinburgh for a number of years, where he was sectioned just over a month before the incident.

He had been seen walking around by himself on February 2, with the intention of going all the way back to the Midlands to see his family.

Upon being taken to Royal Edinburgh Hospital by police, he expressed “incredibly strange and concerning thoughts” and was diagnosed with drug induced psychosis.

He spoke of being a Transformers robot - from the 80s children’s TV programme - and claimed his dad was the character Optimus Prime.

Leon James said he had received repeated calls from his brother saying Anne Marie and their mother were in danger from Megatron, a Transformer superhero.

He was sectioned but released after 72 hours after his condition improved and returned to Wolverhampton where he carried out the brutal attacks.

Following four hours of deliberation across two days, the jury returned narrative verdicts on the deaths of Mr James and Anne-Marie on Thursday.

They ruled Mr James died as a result of multiple stab wounds and his sister died from a fatal stab wound to her chest.

Jurors also concluded there had been three missed opportunities by the hospital and his discharge from the mental health facility had been “inadequate”.

They highlighted the failings from both staff at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and the NHS Lothian Trust in the lead-up to the tragic attack.

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Black Country Coroner Zafar Siddique said: “Can I offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family.

“Given the jury’s findings in particular relation to the lack of communication and documentation when he was discharged, it does raise concerns about the discharge policy.

“I am going to write a report on the concerns raised and there is an internal investigation as well.”

The inquest had heard previously how officers repeatedly tasered six foot three inch James who kept moving towards them, “saturated” in blood, still holding a knife.

The court also heard how Mr James had also spoken about being controlled by a clown and voiced “unusual” beliefs about Donald Trump, Adolf Hitler and the Illuminati.

Returning the verdict, the foreman of the jury said: “There were three missed opportunities.

“The first was the level of detail given between hospital staff and family.

“The second was communication between staff and family had not been documented fully.

“The third was no follow-up care discussed.

“There was no follow-up care, a missed opportunity and inadequate recording of conversations between hospital staff and family.”

The James family declined to comment outside court.