Trust has questions to answer after Cawdrey killings, says Beattie

Doug Beattie MLA
Doug Beattie MLA

Questions must be asked of the Southern Health Trust after Thomas McEntee pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a Portadown couple, says MLA Doug Beattie.

McEntee was found guilty of the double manslaughter of Marjorie and Michael Cawdery on the grounds of diminished responsibility and sentenced to ten years in prison.

The Ulster Unionist MLA said: “But that is clearly not the end of the story behind the brutal killing of Marjorie and Michael. There are questions to be asked of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust (SHSCT) about the structures they have in place to deal with those who have a long term mental health issue and who may well be a danger to members of the public.

“Indeed those who are going through a mental health crisis and are a danger to both themselves and the public.”

“We must also take account the words of Charles Little – the son-in-law of Marjorie and Michael – when he points out serious issues regarding the Root Cause Analysis as part of the Serious Adverse Incident (SAI) Report into the killings.

“Again it is clear there are many problems here and if confidence is to be restored to give both that family and local residents comfort then there needs to be more than just an SAI report.

“To that end I have written to the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Justice – Richard Pengelly – to ask him to conduct an inquiry into this case and another case in Belfast which will come to a conclusion later this year.

“This is not a case of ‘lock em up’ or ‘build the walls higher’ – this is a case of making sure we have structures in place to help those with mental health issues and ensure we safeguard our communities.

“I commend the Cawdrey family for their courage and dignity in dealing with this issue and I commend them for raising the issue of how we deal with mental health in our community. Today we have an elderly couple who were killed in their homes by a man with serious mental health issue, he himself is now in prison serving a sentence for those killings. Had the structures been in place and actions taken to deal with the issue long before the brutal acts on 26 May 2017 then three lives would not have been destroyed that day.”