Sunderland charity allowed support worker’s lone visit


A mental health charity has pleaded guilty to failing to protect a support worker who was stabbed to death during a home visit to a service user.

Ashleigh Ewing, 22, was killed in Newcastle in May 2006 while working for Sunderland-based charity Mental Health Matters, which allowed her to visit the service user on her own.

The charity faces an unlimited fine after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety laws at Newcastle Crown Court. The prosecution was brought by the Health and Safety Executive following an investigation into the incident and sentencing is due to take place shortly.

Ewing’s attacker, Ronald Dixon, who had paranoid schizophrenia, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility in October 2007. He was ordered to be detained indefinitely at a high-security mental health facility.

Mental Health Matters admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which requires employers to ensure the “health, safety and welfare at work” of employees.

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