NHS blunders left cannabis-crazed schizophrenic free to stab policeman to death

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A series of NHS blunders left a paranoid schizophrenic free to stab a policeman to death. 

Cannabis user Tennyson Obih, 29, went 'off the radar' to kill PC Jon Henry after he ditched his prescribed medicine in favour of 'olive oil and prayer'. 

A team of mental health visitors was supposed to monitor his progress after he was released from hospital.

But he regularly missed appointments and officials failed to react to Obih's startling admission about his self-medication. 

A month after he was last seen by medical staff, he went berserk in Luton town centre with a four and a half inch knife, stabbing a window cleaner in the back and killing PC Henry, 36, who was married with a young daughter. 

Last night as Obih began a life sentence for murder with a minimum tariff of 25 years, there were calls for an inquiry into the 'fundamentally flawed' care in the community system. 

No one has been sacked or reprimanded by Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust. 

A jury at Luton Crown Court heard that Nigerian-born Obih arrived in the UK in 2000 and was granted indefinite leave to remain. 

Obih was said to drink heavily and to be a regular cannabis user - a habit linked to serious mental disorders including paranoid schizophrenia. 

He was diagnosed with psychiatric problems in 2005 and sectioned twice under the Mental Health Act but was released in July 2006. 

He was seen in May 2007 by a community nurse who noted his behaviour seemed 'generally appropriate'. 

Yet, the court was told, Obih had openly admitted he stopped taking his medication in February that year after visiting his father in Africa who recommended 'olive oil and prayer'.

Obih called himself 'The Chosen One', believed he had special powers, could predict the future and could point at something to make it vibrate until it exploded. 

The court heard that in June 2007 Obih stabbed window cleaner Stephen Chamberlain, 55, in the back, puncturing his lung. 

PC Henry, a former floor fitter who had completed his probationary period with Bedfordshire Police a year earlier, then arrived with colleagues who used CS spray on Obih. 

The gas had no effect and PC Henry tried approaching the suspect from behind. 

'At this point the defendant suddenly rushed at him and lunged at him, stabbing him in the upper chest area,' prosecutor Richard Latham told the jury. 

'As the officer lay on the ground the defendant stabbed him again to the same area, the chest area, using full force.' 

Another window cleaner, David Knight, distracted Obih by hitting him with a pole. 

Mr Knight was slashed on the arm and it was only when an armed response unit arrived moments later and pumped a plastic bullet and two taser shots at the raging Obih that he was brought down. Mr Knight and Mr Chamberlain later recovered.

Obih pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder. 

His defence barrister, Bernard Richmond, QC, told Mr Justice Bean that Obih had gone 'off the radar' and added: 'What on earth was happening when a man who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, had told his doctors that he would take olive oil and prayer, and was actively not co-operating with psychiatric professionals - what on earth was going on that he was not seen regularly either voluntarily or under compulsion? 

'Your Lordship may wonder how many more tragedies have to take place before it is realised that those who are mentally ill cannot take care of themselves.' 

Last night the mental health charity Sane demanded changes to the ' fundamentally flawed' care in the community system.

Chief executive Marjorie Wallace said: 'The Government has a policy that everybody, however ill or prone to deterioration, has to live in the community to save on the costs of in-patient care.' 

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'There appears to have been a failure to provide proper and adequate support for someone whose condition made them fatally violent. continues here

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