Printer Friendly

We need protecting from psycho killer.

Byline: By Brenda Hickman

A widow whose husband was killed by a psychopath has called on her MP for safeguards to protect her family on his release from hospital.

Dangerman Damien Neaven was jailed for life for stabbing grandad David Huitson to death after a four-year vendetta against him and his relatives.

Since the killing, Neaven has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

And as the Chronicle reported this week, the Court of Appeal overturned the murder conviction for manslaughter, taking into account his mental state at the time of the killing.

Neaven, now 27, has been transferred to top-security Ashworth Hospital.

He could soon be allowed to return to Tyneside on day-release for outpatient treatment at St Nicholas' Hospital, near his home in Wansbeck Road, Gosforth, which is just 10 minutes away from his victim's relatives.

His full release probably won't be considered for a few years.

Mr Huitson's widow Margaret has now turned to local MP Doug Henderson to raise her fears with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

And for the sake of other potential victims, Mrs Huitson, her son Lee and daughter Clare are calling for more protection from mental health patients who have the capacity to kill on release.

Lee said today: "As a family we are aware and very concerned for the safety of not just ourselves and the trial witnesses but also for other members of the public who could come into contact with him.

"Neaven has made a fool of the Criminal Justice System for too long now and it's about time they took notice.

"The thought of him being freed in the near future is unthinkable."

Labour backbencher Mr Henderson has launched an urgent investigation into the consequences of the appeal court decision.

He said: "I was in contact with the Crown Prosecution Service and Northumbria Police about this case in the run-up to the appeal court hearing.

"We need to find out what the practical meaning of this decision is."

Mr Henderson wants to know what Neaven's detention conditions are and whether he's likely to be released on parole. He told the Chronicle: "If he is released we need to find out when, and what conditions will be imposed on him and what access he will have to his home area of Newcastle."

Neaven attacked 53-year-old Mr Huitson, stabbing him through the heart, while he was out walking with his dog near his Brunswick Village home on March 4, 2001.

He targeted the family after Mr Huitson and his daughter made statements against Neaven for the attempted murder of another victim.

The Appeal Court this week ruled Neaven was guilty of manslaughter after hearing fresh psychiatric evidence that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Overturning his life sentence, Lord Justice Rix, sitting with Mr Justice Mackay and Judge Ann Goddard QC, instead ordered him to be detained indefinitely in Ashworth Special Hospital, from which he will only be released when he poses no danger.

Mrs Huitson, who has needed medication for stress, said of Neaven: "He's pulled the wool over the eyes of the health authorities in the past. The only chance we had was that this man was kept locked up and on medication.

"It has already been said he can't be trusted to take his medication. When he is out, who is going to ensure he takes those drugs? Who will be with him 24 hours a day to maintain that level of supervision?"

She thanked villagers for their support and urged the authorities to consider the effects of medication and supervision of dangerous prisoners released into their home community.

Prior to the killing, Neaven was considered by health professionals to be dangerous and violent. But he was not thought sufficiently ill to be detained.
COPYRIGHT 2006 MGN Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 20, 2006
Words:625
Previous Article:999 meal breaks row.
Next Article:Patients urged to have say.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters