UK & World News
Woman Jailed For Life For Grandmother Murder
A woman has been jailed for a minimum of 37 years for murdering a stranger in a knife attack in the street.
Nicola Edgington had killed her mother six years earlier, but was released to live in the community.
She was found guilty at the Old Bailey last month of murdering Sally Hodkin, 58, and attempting to murder Kerry Clark, 22.
Both women were on their way to work in Bexleyheath, southeast London, in October 2011 when Edgington attacked them with a knife.
She bought one knife from Asda and attacked Miss Clark, who was waiting for a bus.
When Miss Clark grabbed the blade and kicked her away, Edgington ran to a butcher's shop and grabbed a larger knife.
She attacked Mrs Hodkin, a law firm accounts clerk, with such force that she almost decapitated her.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that a number of police blunders led to Edgington carrying out the attacks.
The 32-year-old made five 999 calls just hours before asking to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act because she believed herself to be a danger.
But Metropolitan Police staff failed to carry out a police national computer (PNC) check on her which would have alerted them to her previous conviction for the manslaughter of her mother, the IPCC said.
Edgington also sought help at a local hospital from where she called 999.
But after delays in admitting her, she walked out.
The IPCC found officers only contacted the hospital following her fourth phone call and said Edgington's second 999 call from the A&E department was downgraded because she was considered to be in a place of safety.
An officer was not dispatched at this stage despite Edgington's claim she could be very dangerous, it found.
Edgington was said to have a borderline personality disorder and was found to be emotionally unstable and regularly blamed others for her situation.
She was ordered to be detained indefinitely at a secure hospital after stabbing her mother nine times in 2006.
Doctors diagnosed schizophrenia and she pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
But medics ruled she was well enough to be treated in the community after three years.
At the Old Bailey Judge Brian Barker told Edgington her behaviour had been "consistent and calculated".
He said: "You are manipulative and exceptionally dangerous. What you did could not have been more selfish.
"I disagree that the responsibility for these acts can be laid on others.
"You made your choice and these were terrible acts for which you must take responsibility.
"You have come as near as can be to having three deaths on your hands."
Edgington was jailed for life with a minimum term of 37 years for murder and given a concurrent sentence of life with a minimum term of 20 years for attempted murder.
Mrs Hodkin's widower, Paul, told the court in a statement: "Forty years of marriage gone, wiped out in seconds by someone that should not have been on the streets."
His solicitor, Daniel Rubinstein, said outside court: "While the family are relieved that a very dangerous woman has been taken off the streets, they remain concerned at the very many questions that remain over the actions of authorities and the alleged failure to treat clearly dangerous people in a secure environment.
"They will be considering further action to get answers in the hope that other families won't have to go through the same appalling experience that they have."
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what do you think?
Is anyone really surprised about this. Have lessons not been learned ? Have procedures not been changed ? Has training not been given since the last time we were told this must never happen again?
Ah, the familiar cry from the Social Services, "lessons to be learned". How often have we heard this?I think we are all aware that so called 'care in the community' is a bad joke.
Gary W Beard
Her family should sue the government for letting this person out. 50 people a year are now dying at the hands of people who have been found guilty of murder and subsequently released. There used to be an argument against capital punishment on the grounds that you might hang an innocent person. One innocent person a week now is dying because the government lack the courage to make the hard decision. Will anything be done? I won't hold my breath.
This is what you get with care in the community. How can you blame this government
Countries all over the world have capital punishment. Why are murders still committed in numbers much much higher than in our own country, if it is such a deterrent? Are you really suggesting that we execute ill people in cases like this one?
Care in the community began under a conservative government Diane. It began in the late 80's and was in full flower, with hospitals closed and patients dumped in flats on their own. long before Blair's government came along.
Are they not supposed to have carers or whatever they are called
Louisa. I agree that it was the Conservatives who introduced Care in the Community and what a mistake that has proved. But at the time there were people arguing that putting mentally ill people in institutions was not the way to help them. Since the late 80's no government has thought to re appraise the failing system and seemed happy with the status quo
Agreed Dave but the problem was that a range o provisions was required - some people do well in the community in small group houses, some in their own tenancies and others needed the institutions. Mental health workers tried to say this at the time but were ignored.
Diane the problem is that all the agencies which provide the care have had their budgets cut so that they can no longer provide this care. Even in the early days of CITC it e=was very suspect as carers are not around when problems kick off - they cannot be there late at night, etc. This support is also offered on a voluntary basis and the patient can opt out at any point. It's very difficult to get someone sectioned or even ensure that they turn up for their depo medications and the laws which govern this come down from govt. Everyone knew citc would be very problematic and it has been
Horrible as these acts were, let's admit that the laziness, tardiness, ineptitude and bottomless bucket of excellent excuses of those who job it is to pull society's strings, and who have the big sticks to make it behave, have yet again assumed the role of complacent enabler.
social workers, judges.....do-gooders as we refer to them. AKA useless idiots.
I'm assuming that you two never ever make a mistake or an error of judgement then. This case is tragic and the lady should have been taken seriously but medical and police staff are so busy and overworked that mistakes get made amid the general chaos in which they work. This was absolutely tragic but you two should spend a saturday night in A&E or your local nick. Maybe you'd understand what it's like if you did.
Jail all social workers. They think they know best but are in reality inept idiots.
My heart aches for the people affected by this tragedy, and my thoughts are with them. BUT ... "The 32-year-old made five 999 calls just hours before asking to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act because she believed herself to be a danger" ... AND she took herself to a hospital seeking help! When will mental health issues really be taken seriously by people? The general public, yes, but especially people who are supposed to be trained in this area.
Agree with every word Val- there is so much ignorance about mental ill health but this lady knew she was dangerous and needed to be sectioned - this tragedy could have been avoided if medical and police staff had only taken her seriously
The same thing happened in my neck of the woods, an acquaintance begged to be sectioned as he felt that he was a danger to his wife, turned away, he stabbed her to death.
Val/Louisa. Agree with you both. The annoying thing for me is that this girl has been held responsible for her actions, those who failed her and contributed enormously to this tragedy have not. Ps.Soft centre coming out again Louisa
I totally agree with you. I used to work in a school for students with both physical and learning disabilites. I saw many of the students grow up with violent tendancies who after an hour of being extremely violent would then stop and be completely calm. The fact that she asked for help shows she knew there was something wrong but as usual was ignored by those who are supposed to help.
She should have been jailed for life after murdering her mother and not let out after 6 years. I often wonder who the law and mental health authorities are trying to protect.
Not the public
Perhaps you don't understand mental health issues, then? I agree she should not have been let back out into society, but she should have been kept inside a mental health institution, rather than jailed. If her mental health condition had been properly recognised and dealt with originally, perhaps her own mother would still be alive, too.
... and for some reason my comment gets a thumbs down. Some of you people are seriously strange!
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Peter your words of choice are unfortunate "loony tunes" - very offensive to people with mental ill health and that kind of language perpetuates the stigma against mentally ill people, 99.9% of whom never commit crimes of violence. I agree that 6 years does not seem like a long sentence but Val is right to say that there is a difference between jail and being committed to a mental hospital. Mentally ill people do not belong in prison-they need care and treatment
honest to f*** i would jail the dogooder idiots who let her out,,these people must stand accountable for this .then the next time others will think twice before letting murderers back on the streets
She knowingly made a decision to call the police 5 times so there was obviously a degree of rational.she then knowingly made a decision to kill.she knew what she was doing.she deserves the sentances she recieved and should never be released into society again.other people need to be held accountable for their failings too.will never happen though and this will be allowed to happen again and again.
Again, I'm afraid this shows a lack of understanding about mental health issues ... people with all types of mental illness have moments of lucidity, when they are able to function normally (ie. calling for help), but their condition isn't controllable by them. They can sometimes understand when they are a danger to themselves and others, but cannot always control their behaviour. Of COURSE they shouldn't be released into society ... but they should be held in secure psychiatric units and helped, not simply jailed. Mental illness is real, people ... it's not someone "choosing" to behave badly, their neural connections are not the same as people without mental health issues. Our society ignores this fact at its peril.
Actually, many people who suffer from mental health illnesses are proven to be very manipulative. This shows that she wanted to kill, but was taking steps to try and ensure a more lenient sentence when she was inevitably detained. And it all comes down to the stupidity of releasing her after killing he mother.
Yes, it is an illness, a very serious one, and she should have received help a long time ago. But her actions before murder and attempted murder argue a degree of lucidity and self-preservation.
Well actually val i know a great deal about mental illness.so please do not assume.i stand by my comment after reading about this case several times.
Agree with Val Kerry. Mental illness doesn't rule out eriods of lucidity and knowing you are a danger is not the same as making a lucid and conscious decision to kill someone. The facy that this woman called the police five times only shows self awareness and fear. It does not mean she had the ability to stop herself committing this crime.
louisa i am fully aware of how mental illness works.i have a very wide personal experiance of all kinds of issues.i do not need anyone to keep explaining to me and patronising me.every person is differant.i am talking about this particular woman so im not generalising. I have read about this quite a lot.and as i said before i stand by what i said.the judge had every medical report and found her to be culpable.yes she needs medical help but she is guilty and should be dealt with acordingly.
Kerry kerry kerry don't be so angry with people when they have a view that's a bit different to your own. I had not the slightest intention to patronise you or imply that you did not know anything about the subject. I have several friends who are nurses and one who is a doctor and i myself have loads of professional experience in this field.
I'm not "assuming" anything, Kerry - I'm responding to the words you yourself used. You may have experience of mental health issues, but by saying "she knew what she was doing" you show that you don't acknowledge the varying degrees of mental illness ... you cannot know what she "knew", as each case and each person is different. The fact remains (indisputably) that the woman called for help - FIVE TIMES - and was ignored. Yes, she committed this terrible crime and should never be released into society again, but other people have a lot to answer for in this tragic case.
This woman is a disgnosed schziophrenic, with diminished reponsibility. Ill people can still be maipulative, i do accept that, but the reality of a schiziophrenic is different from the reality of others. She, in her more lucid and aware moments, tried to warn the authoritities that she may have been dangerous. I have, during my working life, been to the doctot with many clients who were similarly afraid that they would harm others. They were rarely taken seriously. One man later murdered someone. Such murders are rare but what a pity people don't listen to these pleas and take them seriously. Now two families have been torn apart by this lady's illness
Kerry A rather harsh judgement. Even with Mental health problems she at least recognised that she was a danger and tried to seek help. The perfectly "normal" people who ignored her pleas are the ones who should be held to account. She has so why should they walk away scot free, but they will.
It's hardly the first time a personality disorder has been refused help and been allowed to wander towns with multiple weapons.
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There should be new laws brought in stipulating that any person claiming a killer is ok to be allowed back into the community and then kills again should be charged with aiding and abetting in murder. If this was made law then I don't think you would see any more of these repeat killings because the dogooders would be too scared.
What absolute nonesense!
Dear old Maggie Thatcher flogged off the secure asylums and put the mentally ill into the the tender hands of "care in the community". In other words, when the mentally ill are cast onto the streets and the inevitable occurs, they are condemned to prison, it is cheaper. Rule by bean counters results in misery, god help us.
I wondered how long it would be before someone came up with Its all Thatchers fault
Thatcher shot Kennedy as well, she was on the grassy knoll.
And Thatcher, selling all those dodgy loans to people who could not pay it back.
Robert. And don't forget all the cr@p weather we had last year as well as selling our gold reserves at knock down prices
It happened under her administration, tory boys.
Guys, it was done by her and her government so please tell me who i should blame if not her/them. Everyone working in the mental health field knew that the changes hadn't been thought through properly but no one wanted to listen
Louisa. I take on board what you say but do you not think that those in power since 1990 and who did nothing to change the situation bear as much responsibility for its continuation.
Well we had conservatives in power until1997 and then again since 2010 but i do agree that nothing was done to improve the situation by Labour. Only waded in here because people didn;t seem to understand that this process actually did stem from the alien brain of the grocer's daughter-John wasn't making it up!
Louisa. Yes, and from 1990 to 1997 the situation should have been revisted by the conservative govt if as it appears it was not working. I am a shade more right wing than you but am not blind to the messes made by conservative govts. Rail privitisation being a prime example.
This person should not have been back on the streets only 6 years after murdering previously. It is obvious she has mental health problems and she even tried 5 times to alert the negligent authorities that she was a danger. Many blame her for the second killing citing the 999 calls as evidence that she was rational and therefore knew exactly what she was doing. That is somewhat harsh. Although I does not absolve her from responsibility for the killing I think those who complacently did nothing when the chance presented itself bear a huge responsibility and should be held accountable. She has been but as usual they won't
Far more people are to blame for this mess. Of course, many mentally ill people (and others!) are manipulative and fantasists and make all kinds of claims, but what this one also had done, of course, is kill her mother. How on Earth her later threats fell on deaf ears is beyond me. An utter nightmare for all involved.