Man killed sister after leaving Royal Edinburgh hospital

A MAN repeatedly stabbed his mother after fatally wounding his sister just weeks after he was discharged from the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, an inquest has heard.

Monday, 21st August 2017, 8:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:16 pm
The man was Tasered by police.

Melvin James’s mother told her son “I love you” as he stabbed her “again and again” at a flat.

James launched the assault as his sister, Anne-Marie, lay dying in the hallway of the second floor tower block apartment.

Footage showed police Tasering the knife-wielding 36-year-old before officers fled the high-rise, “terrified” for their lives.

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Mr James, who had self-inflicted knife wounds, was eventually subdued after armed police stormed the flat with flash-bang grenades and Tasers.

Despite treatment, Mr James died at the scene, but his mother survived.

The inquest also heard from younger brother Leon who said he collected his older brother from hospital in Scotland in February, after an admission for a “medical episode”, and brought him back to live at Mrs James’ home.

Black Country senior coroner Zafar Siddique said: “He was taken to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, initially as a voluntary patient.

“He made some progress and was discharged on February 10, with a diagnosis of drug-induced psychosis.”

An inquest jury in Oldbury, West Midlands, hearing evidence into the deaths of Mr James and his sister watched dramatic police body-worn video of the incident on March 8 in Wolverhampton.

Giving a harrowing account, Lynette James said she was about to have a shower when she heard her daughter Anne-Marie James, 33, shout “Mum!”

Her evidence, read by Mr Siddique, said: “I sensed and felt something was seriously wrong. I decided to run into the lounge and call the concierge from the phone. I see Melvin by the kitchen and he ripped the phone off the wall.”

She added: “His eyes were red, fixed and he was staring at me. He plunged the knife into me, again and again. I said ‘I love you, son’.”

She managed to get to the bathroom, locking the door and ringing 999 to tell police she had been stabbed and feared she was “slipping away”.

The mother-of-four added: “I said ‘I’m going to die, my son has stabbed me and my daughter is on the floor’.”

Mrs James, then 59, described how the weekend before, her son and daughter were “happy and laughing”.

But the night before the incident, unemployed Mr James was in a “strange mood”.

The next morning, Mrs James noticed her son had opened all the windows and appeared “hot and sweating”.

She and her daughter “agreed something was wrong with Melvin... and I said we’ll go see my doctor and get some advice”.

Police were initially called after a neighbour reported “horrific sounds” from the flat, with Mrs James’ panicked call coming soon after.

Unarmed response officers, first on the scene, Tasered and then batoned Mr James but were forced to retreat.

Specialist armed units rushed to the Leasowes Drive tower block, and smashed a hole in the door large enough to squeeze through - throwing two stun grenades through the opening.

But as one officer managed to step inside, he recoiled as a blood-stained Mr James came along the flat’s hallway towards them carrying a knife.

PC Panter, of West Midlands Police, told the inquest: “I put my [weapon] selector to ‘fire’, my finger on the trigger. I was almost certain I would have to take a shot.”

However, the officer said he then decided to take the less-lethal Taser option.

While Mr James was down, other armed officers rushed in to disarm and then handcuff him.

The inquest continues.