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Inquest: Mental health nurse had 'theory' Upminster man would kill himself and his mum months before suspected murder suicide

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 October 2019

The inquest into the deaths of Vera and John Savage resumed at Walthamstow Coroner's Court on Monday. Picture: Goole Streetview

The inquest into the deaths of Vera and John Savage resumed at Walthamstow Coroner's Court on Monday. Picture: Goole Streetview

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A mental health liaison nurse has revealed he feared a 54-year-old man "may kill" his mum, just months before they were both found dead.

The bodies of Vera Savage, 89, and John Savage, 54, were discovered in their house in Blyth Walk, Upminster in July 2017.

The pair were found in the upstairs bathroom, with Vera lying in the bath in her nightdress and John slumped behind the door, covered in blood.

They were both found with a single stab wound to the neck that matched the blade of a kitchen knife found on the floor.

A suicide note in John's handwriting was found stuck to the door and both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The court previously heard that John had struggled to care for his mother, who had dementia and was physically frail, while himself dealing with depression and alcohol abuse.

An inquest into their deaths continued today, Thursday, October 10, which mental health liaison nurse Colin Clancy, who carried out a risk assessment on Vera Savage following John's suicide attempt, attended.

Vera discovered John in the bath after he tried to harm himself with a knife.

She sustained minor cuts trying to remove the weapon but Mr Clancy says John "had no intention to harm Vera" at that time.

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However in his risk assessment, Mr Clancy said John was a potential future risk to his mum.

He told the court: "I was seeing Vera but with the information I had and being aware of the son's suicide attempt, looking at the bigger picture, I had the impression that the son would eventually kill himself and there was a concern where I was thinking that because of his mother's situation that he may kill her too.

"This was just my thought and theory."

Despite concerns, this was not included in John's records and when coroner Nadia Persaud questioned Mr Clancy whether he discussed his views in a meeting with colleagues about Vera, he said he couldn't remember.

A statement from Dr Ezeonwuke, an inpatient consultant at Nelft (North East London NHS Foundation Trust), was also read out regarding when John was sectioned following a suicide attempt in February.

In the statement, Dr Ezeonwuke said John "felt lethargic and put on a brave front to look after his mum" and was "coping with his low mood by drinking daily".

Mr Savage told a consultant that he felt "overwhelmed by despair" and had "planned the technique years ago if he ever had a terminal illness" - his dad, Reg Savage, had cancer and committed suicide in 2005.

Dr Ezeonwuke said there were points when his mood was "bright" but he wanted to leave the hospital.

He said: "He reported he may be better recovering at home and would like to return home to make it ready so his mother could move back in."

The inquest continues.

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