Date published: 23rd January 2018

The inquest into the death of William Lound, known to his family as “Will”, began on 8th January 2018 and concluded on 19th January. Will, a student at Salford University, was murdered by Lee Arnold on 8 February 2016. Lee Arnold had a history of severe mental health issues and violence and Will’s Inquest examined whether adequate steps were taken by the state to manage the risk he presented to the public.

The jury returned a conclusion of death by unlawful killing, as well as a narrative finding critical of failings by both Greater Manchester Police and Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust. The Coroner indicated that he would be producing a ‘Preventing Future Deaths’ report addressed to the Trust to ensure that lessons are learned from the tragic events. The family were represented by Leanne Devine of Broudie Jackson Canter and Kate Stone of Garden Court North Chambers.

His mum, Maureen Lound, has release the following:

“I am grateful to Coroner McLaughlin and the jury for their investigation into the circumstances surrounding my son's murder and the treatment of Lee Arnold. Hopefully, lessons will be learned and practices changed so no more families suffer.

My view that the system, starved of cash as it is, was to blame and that has been confirmed.

The thread running through Arnold’s care was lack of information. It took effort to discover Arnold’s history and how dangerous he might be without medication, an effort which only Clare Coley, his social worker, made. Even when the information was there, it was ignored. Alarm bells should have rung. Arnold spent years in Ashworth followed by years in a medium secure hospital.

There are less than 800 beds in high security hospitals for England and Wales. Common sense suggests that to have occupied one for years, Arnold must be dangerous.

Arnold’s section was lifted by a mental health tribunal against psychiatrists advice. Perhaps the Lee Arnold’s of this world should remain on some kind of licence for life. Arnold may have seemed OK at the tribunal, but paranoid schizophrenia is incurable.

The drug he was on is only used for the most difficult to treat; another point to the severity of Arnolds illness not picked up.

Once released into the community Arnold stopped taking his medication and reconnected with illicit drugs. His illness returned. There followed numerous visits to A&E where Arnold told how he heard voices, commanding him to kill people. Still, he was not taken seriously. He was admitted to various in-patient facilities, informally, from which he absconded, only to be reported as a missing person and returned by police or emergency ambulance. A waste of scare resources.

At the time of the murder, Arnold was on bail. He breached his bail conditions twice. The second time due to human error. No-one knew he had not reported to the police station. Cuts to budgets mean that civilian staff may be expected not only to complete admin tasks but deal with the public at the same time. A big ask!

Lack of information led to Arnold being free. Had the police ad magistrates known Arnold’s history, he may have been remanded. Police have an indication of whether someone has mental health issues. Perhaps there should be an additional symbol marking out the Lee Arnold’s of this world from the little old ladies who have gone AWOL from a rest home.

Lee Arnold’s heinous crime has devastated my life. My wonderful, kind-hearted son was brutally murdered. My beautiful daughter took her own life almost certainly as a result of her brother’s death.

Arnold’s crime was perhaps predictable and certainly preventable.

More investment is vital if tragedies are not to be repeated, more money would mean consistency of care. Instead of being bounced round the system from ward to ward and doctor to doctor, due to pressure for beds. The Lee Arnold’s of this world would get treatment and our communities would be so much safer.

There must be Lee Arnold’s in every town and city. Tragedies will continue until mental health services get a fairer share of the NHs budget. Mental illness is increasing and funding should reflect this trend.”