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SSRI Stories Summary: TM has been under the care of mental health services since the age of 8. He has a history of heavy drinking, violent outbursts, poor self-control and domestic abuse. Already taking “anti-psychotic” meds for an undisclosed period of time, in March 2010 his “low mood” is attributed to alcohol abuse. In October 2010 he is prescribed antidepressants for “mild depression”, and he is subsequently sectioned for self-harming in public, and threatens suicide. He continues to drink heavily, argues with girlfriend Eystna Blunnie, gets her pregnant, they break up. She reports being afraid of him when he is drinking. After a few violent episodes he kills her.
The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post UK 12 12:24
A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of a pregnant woman and the death of the unborn baby girl she was carrying.
Tony McLernon, 23, of North Grove, Harlow, Essex, is accused of killing Eystna Blunnie, who was found fatally injured in Howard Way in the town in the early hours of June 27.
He also faces a charge of child destruction after it emerged that 20-year-old Ms Blunnie, from Halling Hill in Harlow, was heavily pregnant at the time of her death.
Ms Blunnie was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow but died of multiple head and facial injuries.
Her profile picture on Facebook featured a recent ultrasound scan. She told friends she “could not wait” to be a mother and added: “Only 17 days and counting.”
Essex Police said McLernon appeared before magistrates in Chelmsford and was remanded in custody to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday.
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OVERVIEW REPORT INTO THE DEATH OF Eystna Blunnie ON 27 June 2012: Report produced by Jackie Sully on behalf of the Safer Harlow Partnership
23 October 2013 (Updated 14 January 2014, 26 March and 30 June 2014)
This Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) examines the circumstances surrounding the sudden unexpected death of Eystna Blunnie in Harlow, Essex on 27 June 2012. During the early hours of 27 June 2012, Essex Police and ambulance services were called to Howard Way in Harlow, following a report that a female was lying in the road having apparently been run over.
Enquiries eventually revealed the female to be Eystna Blunnie, who was nine months pregnant and just days away from giving birth. Eystna Blunnie had sustained a serious assault having gone out to meet the perpetrator TM in the early hours of the morning, and later died of massive head injuries inflicted during the assault.
In Feb 2013 TM was found guilty of the murder of Eystna Blunnie, and of child destruction. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 27 years.
2 The Review Process
This summary outlines the process undertaken by the Harlow Domestic Homicide Review Panel in reviewing the death of Eystna Blunnie.
On 27 June 2012 Essex Police notified the Chair of the Safer Harlow Partnership of the death of Eystna Blunnie as the circumstances of the death fitted the Home Office criteria for the establishment of a Domestic Homicide Review. The Review was conducted in accordance with the Multi-Agency Guidance for the Conduct of Domestic Homicide Reviews 2011.
The Home Office was informed of the intention to conduct a DHR on 9 July 2012 and the first panel met on 2 October 2012.
The process has been completed and a report was submitted to the Home Office in October 2013.
DOMESTIC HOMICIDE REVIEW OVERVIEW REPORT
OVERVIEW OF AGENCY INVOLVEMENT WITH Eystna Blunnie (victim) and TM (perpetrator);
Scope of the review
Eystna Blunnie was in an on/off relationship with TM for approximately eighteen months before her death, though for the final six months, both stated that the relationship was over. By this time however, Eystna Blunnie was pregnant with TM’s child.
The DHR panel agreed that the period to be covered by this review should be from January 2010 until June 2012 which is the approximate time period covering Eystna Blunnie’s relationship with the perpetrator, until the date when Eystna Blunnie was tragically murdered. Agencies were also requested to include any other significant incidents prior to this date that would or could have relevance for the review.
A summary of the individual agency contact with the victim Eystna Blunnie, and the perpetrator TM, is detailed within the first section of each organisational report. This information is taken from the IMRs and includes any other relevant details within the chronology of events. This section is followed by a summary of policy, procedure and individual practice. The final section of each agency review contains the author of the Overview Report’s observations and analysis of the relevant issues identified within the context of each separate agency’s involvement with Eystna Blunnie and TM.
1.1.6 In early February 2012 Eystna Blunnie reported to her midwife at a routine ant-inatal appointment that she had split from her partner (TM) and that he had taken her maternity notes. PAH issued a duplicate set of notes to Eystna Blunnie.
1.1.7 Following an appointment where TM attended with Eystna Blunnie on 23/03/12, an incident took place on the labour ward. It was recorded that “TM appeared to be intoxicated”. Several members of staff were concerned as they were both arguing loudly. Eystna Blunnie was asked if she had any concerns for her safety and she responded by saying that she “felt safe with him around, but didn’t like him when he was drunk”.
1.1.9 Eystna Blunnie attended another anti-natal appointment with her mother in early April 2012. The midwife challenged Eystna Blunnie’s safety but was informed that Eystna Blunnie was now at home with her parents. Eystna Blunnie’s mother informed the midwife that TM had a history of violence. Eystna Blunnie was advised to call the police if TM tried to make contact.
1.1.10 After a violent incident between Eystna Blunnie and TM in April 2012, PAH received the relevant DV/1 form from the police. The incident took place at TM’s home and he was subsequently graded as high risk. Eystna Blunnie again had the opportunity to disclose any episodes of domestic abuse, but informed the community midwife that she was safe at her parent’s home.
11.1.14 Towards the end of May Eystna Blunnie was still telling the midwives that she had no contact with TM and “felt safe” at her parent’s home. 1.1.15; All other appointments with the midwives including two home visits note that Eystna Blunnie was doing well and seemed relaxed.
1.2 Agency involvement relating to TM
1.2.1 TM had five recorded attendances to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) dept. of the local hospital, two following an assault (though it is not clear whether TM was the victim or the perpetrator on these occasions), one visit was as a result of self-harm, one as a result of alcohol and ecstasy abuse, and one was due to a football injury.
2 NEPFT (North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust);
2.1 The following section of the report relates to TM only;
2.1.2 The Trust had the first contact with TM when he was eight years old, and he was seen by child and adolescent psychiatric services, following a referral by his then GP. He was assessed after parental concerns regarding behavioural issues, anxiety and hearing voices. At that time the diagnosis was that he did not have a psychotic illness, and was only offered additional support at school, where things did improve. He did not attend follow up appointments and the case was closed in July 1997.
2.1.3 TM had seven subsequent episodes of care with mental health and substance misuse services, and was actually discharged on 31/05/12. 2.1.4; NEPFT has a note on file that there was a domestic abuse disclosure made in 2007 by a previous partner of TM’s in order that future partners could be made aware and “protected”.
2.1.5 An earlier Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) report sent to NEPFT states that TM has a history of violent offending against intimate partners, and that he fails to understand the impact of his actions.
2.1.6 It was further noted that TM also fails to take responsibility for his actions and blames everyone else for what has occurred.
2.1.7 As far back as 2009 there were notes on TM’s record of a referral due to fits of uncontrollable rage and heavy drinking. It was recorded that one way of coping with these outbursts was by punching the walls. TM also stated that he was worried about harming his own family at this time. Further appointments to work through these issues were offered, but TM failed to attend any of them. His GP was later informed that the case was closed.
2.1.8 It is understood that there is a prescriptive internal process to be instigated when patients do not attend planned appointments, but there is no evidence that this process was followed by NEPFT, and TM was discharged into the care of his GP. There was no real communication between the two NHS organisations regarding this transfer of care.
2.1.9 In 2010, TM’s father contacted ADAS (Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service) regarding TM’s mental state. Mr. M senior stated that TM was drinking 23 cans of beer per day and that his violence was escalating. The family did not know what to do and felt particularly vulnerable.
2.1.10 ADAS made a referral to CMHT (Community Mental health Team) who undertook a full assessment of TM in March 2010. His “low mood” was attributed to alcohol abuse. TM stated that he was easily irritated and could react violently to very insignificant issues. He also disclosed that he did bare knuckle fights for money. TM had already completed a prison sentence at this time, and during the assessment, he admitted that he had been sentenced to prison for nine months for ABH (actual bodily harm). He also stated that he was released on license but was recalled to prison when he committed an act of criminal damage. It should be noted that he made no reference to domestic abuse or violence to intimate partners in either of these disclosures.
2.1.11 A further assessment was completed at the end of March 2010 where TM admitted that he had been abusing alcohol for four years, drinking approximately 85 units per day, and was also using cocaine 1 to 3 times per week. This was the first time that drug use had been brought into the conversation. He was assessed as “at risk” of harm to himself and to others, due to his previous history of violence and continued street fighting. This was further exacerbated when he was under the influence of alcohol.
2.1.12 TM was referred back to ADAS as he was not prepared to take part in any programmes that required him to stop drinking completely. He stated that he was prepared to cut his drinking down to weekends only, but not to stop altogether. 2.1.13; In July of the same year TM was temporarily detained in Shannon House under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. He was heavily under the influence of alcohol. It was recorded that he had been fighting with his brother and smashed some glasses, using some of the broken glass to cut his neck, though he denied that this was selfharm. He was released the next day when he was sober with recommendations to contact ADAS or CDAT again. TM failed to follow this up.
2.1.15 TM was discharged from mental health services in late December 2010, and did not appear again until 14 March 2012. TM was taken to A&E by his parents, under the influence of alcohol and ecstasy, and was allegedly threatening to kill himself. He was sectioned, assessed, but released the next day, as there was no underlying mental disorder diagnosed.
2.1.17 In June 2012 after his arrest, TM was visited by a social worker within Chelmsford Magistrates Court where he stated that he and Eystna Blunnie had been together for a year and that she was expecting his child. This was the first recorded acknowledgement that Eystna Blunnie’s child was his.
4.1.6 In March 2010 notes record that a referral was made from ADAS for TM to attend CDAT, but again TM did not attend.
4.1.7 In July 2010, TM was sectioned into the care of NEPFT for “cutting his neck in a public place”. An assessment was completed at that time but the conclusion reached was that the cause of TM’s problems was alcohol abuse and that he did not have any underlying mental health issues. He was left to self-refer to ADAS following this episode as he had failed to attend the previously booked CDAT appointment.
4.1.8 In October 2010 TM attended the practice with his mother, and was still reporting issues with anger management. Minor depression was identified and medication prescribed. Further support and psychotherapy were both offered.
4.1.9 Following TM’s prison sentence there are notes on his file relating to a discharge summary sent to the GP after TM’s release. This summary makes reference to TM’s mental health issues whilst in prison. There is also a note on file in relation to the antipsychotic medication prescribed which is generally only used in secondary care, and is not usually prescribed within general practice/primary care.
4.1.14 The CMHT assessment concluded once again that TM had no underlying MH issues and that the cause of TM’s problems was his excessive and habitual alcohol consumption. CMHT sent another referral off to CDAT and to ADAS, but noted that TM was poorly motivated to address these issues and to take responsibility for himself and for his actions. 4.1.15; In July 2012 the practice received a notification from the Mid Essex Criminal Justice Mental Health Team (part of NEPFT) that TM had undergone a mental health
4.3.4; It is factual that unless a person is sectioned under the Mental Health Act, they cannot be detained against their will. However someone who is continuously presenting with the same on-going issues to NHS generalist services, as well as to specialist Mental Health Services seems to be able to bypass the system by not attending any referral appointments or follow up consultations. A lack of timely interagency information, as well as no formal intervention process, enables this to continue.