'Missed chances' to help killer

News Shopper: Hannah Bonser killed 13-year-old Casey Kearney in a park in Doncaster on Valentine's Day Hannah Bonser killed 13-year-old Casey Kearney in a park in Doncaster on Valentine's Day

Agencies missed opportunities to help a woman with a history of mental health problems who said she was going to harm someone before stabbing a 13-year-old girl to death.

Hannah Bonser was jailed for a minimum of 22 years after being found guilty of murdering Casey Kearney in Elmfield Park, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on Valentine's Day.

Casey was going to a sleepover at a friend's house when Bonser - a total stranger with a diagnosed personality disorder and a history of cannabis abuse - stabbed her once with a 16cm kitchen knife she had bought earlier.

Bonser, 26, had been in contact with a number of agencies since 1993 when her GP raised concerns that she was being neglected by her parents, the independent report said. She was in touch with mental health services in Doncaster from 2002. In the months before Casey's murder, Bonser was admitted to hospital for a brief period before being discharged, and later went to hospital again after taking an overdose.

In January this year, she was offered crisis accommodation after she contacted mental health services and said she needed to be "locked up". She was sent home a short time later and discharged from treatment on January 30. On February 14, Bonser stabbed Casey as she walked through the park before going to a nearby mental health charity and handing over two knives as she confessed to what she had done.

The report, commissioned by primary healthcare trust NHS Doncaster, found events in Bonser's life could have been changed if agencies had not missed opportunities. It said she was "almost invisible" to some services, who often failed to listen to her concerns. But it made clear that Bonser's own actions led to Casey's murder.

"She told many agencies of her concern that she was going to harm someone. Assessments made by them did not identify a high level of risk of this occurring," the report stated. "There were missed opportunities to work with her more effectively. This could have changed the course of event's in (Bonser's) life and wellbeing."

The report made 21 recommendations to services including Doncaster Safeguarding Children's Board, Doncaster Children's Services, the Rethink Mental Illness charity, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, the Housing Options service and the M25 housing and support service.

Margaret Kitching, NHS Doncaster's nurse director, said everyone involved in the review would ensure that all the recommendations are fully implemented. She said: "Casey's death was a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to her parents, family and friends as today will undoubtedly be another very difficult time for them."

Christine Bain, chief executive of Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We accept all the findings and recommendations made following this investigation and we acknowledge that our service to Miss Bonser should have been much better. We have already taken action to improve our services to patients and service users and a detailed action plan is being implemented."

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Comments (4)

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4:07pm Tue 27 Nov 12

tracyallott says...

I am from Barnsley and know mental health there near Doncaster went to dogs. I got put under for panic near a murder in 2001 in a phone call asking me to name swap and move where I had been stalked and broken in on by a yob who molested and could have suffocated me in 98. A one off. I could have been killed. I told police to go out fearing murders, which happened after I left. Mental health kicked me deluded 10 years before apology letters. So did S Y Police. I was gagged in Silkstone NHS near where they now exhume a body. I am trying to move to Sheffield who I dared tell my ordeal to now in housing office. Same day as Casey murder I was in Doncaster library where they let me write on web, and lads said they were about to do each others' heads in . I have reported to Rotherham library boss threats by clients to kill mates, etc. Staff said kill by putting to sleep in Wath and Donny libraries. I gave in card. Long term disabled T Allott Barnsley Yorks
I am from Barnsley and know mental health there near Doncaster went to dogs. I got put under for panic near a murder in 2001 in a phone call asking me to name swap and move where I had been stalked and broken in on by a yob who molested and could have suffocated me in 98. A one off. I could have been killed. I told police to go out fearing murders, which happened after I left. Mental health kicked me deluded 10 years before apology letters. So did S Y Police. I was gagged in Silkstone NHS near where they now exhume a body. I am trying to move to Sheffield who I dared tell my ordeal to now in housing office. Same day as Casey murder I was in Doncaster library where they let me write on web, and lads said they were about to do each others' heads in . I have reported to Rotherham library boss threats by clients to kill mates, etc. Staff said kill by putting to sleep in Wath and Donny libraries. I gave in card. Long term disabled T Allott Barnsley Yorks tracyallott
  • Score: 0

4:15pm Tue 27 Nov 12

mouthalmighty says...

Why is this still happening. Mental health patients who are released too early, when they say they will hurt someone should be seen on a regular basis. Yes some People do mske regular threats without going through with it, but regulation is needed. There is a shortage of staff due to financial restraints, so the top nobs must be regulated too, to check for persistent progress.
Why is this still happening. Mental health patients who are released too early, when they say they will hurt someone should be seen on a regular basis. Yes some People do mske regular threats without going through with it, but regulation is needed. There is a shortage of staff due to financial restraints, so the top nobs must be regulated too, to check for persistent progress. mouthalmighty
  • Score: 0

6:07pm Wed 28 Nov 12

tracyallott says...

I keep checking too if Barnsley services come clean about the Silkstone exhumation, in case there is a hidden culture of letting rough yobs get away with vulnerable adult murders, and corrupting the Coroner report. I am pleased it throws back to the page about suspect mental health practice not checking out attackers but villifying victims of disturbed characters instead, which surely is a very dangerous kind of moral inversion. Tracy Allott Barnsley near Doncaster
I keep checking too if Barnsley services come clean about the Silkstone exhumation, in case there is a hidden culture of letting rough yobs get away with vulnerable adult murders, and corrupting the Coroner report. I am pleased it throws back to the page about suspect mental health practice not checking out attackers but villifying victims of disturbed characters instead, which surely is a very dangerous kind of moral inversion. Tracy Allott Barnsley near Doncaster tracyallott
  • Score: 0

6:22pm Wed 28 Nov 12

mouthalmighty says...

Tracy, I don't think you should be giving out the area where you live darling. You make good points with a good insight into the ways of the powers that be. But be careful. Please.
Tracy, I don't think you should be giving out the area where you live darling. You make good points with a good insight into the ways of the powers that be. But be careful. Please. mouthalmighty
  • Score: 0
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