Care worker inquest delayed until court case ends

The inquest into the death of a care worker who was killed by a service user has been delayed pending legal action by the Health and Safety Executive.

Ashleigh Ewing, 22, an employee of Sunderland-based charity Mental Health Matters, was stabbed to death by Ronald Dixon when she visited his Newcastle home in May 2006.

The HSE said last month that it would prosecute the charity under health and safety legislation. The next hearing will be at Newcastle Magistrates Court on 29 May.

The Newcastle coroner’s office confirmed that the inquest would be postponed until after the case concluded and was unlikely to take place this year.


An agreement was reached between the coroner and the HSE at a pre-inquest review meeting on 6 May. Members of Ewing’s family who attended were reportedly satisfied with the decision.

Although Dixon had a history of violence, Ewing visited alone and had yet to complete her probationary period at the charity.

After a trial in October 2007, a judge ordered that Dixon be detained indefinitely at a high-security mental health facility.

In May 2005, the HSE prosecuted South West London Primary and St Georges Mental Health NHS Trust under health and safety legislation after a nurse was killed by a psychiatric patient. The trust admitted failing to ensure the safety of their employee and was fined £28,000 and ordered to pay legal costs of £14,000.

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