Charity Worker Fatally Stabbed While Lone Working

An inquiry has been launched into the circumstances leading up to the death of a mental health worker, Ashleigh Ewing, 22, at the hands of a paranoid schizophrenic man in Newcastle in May 2006.

Ronald Dixon. 35, was detained indefinitely by reason of diminished responsibility and has been ordered to be detained indefinitely in Rampton top security hospital. Judge David Hodson went on to say that answers must follow as to why the tragedy was allowed to take place.

The case at Newcastle Crown Court, in October 2007, identified a breakdown in communications between several agencies which lead to Dixon’s history of violence, including a hammer attack on his own parents, not being shared.

Miss Ewing had been employed by the charity Mental Health Matters for around six months at the time of her death and had visited Mr Dixon on a number of occasions. This was in spite of a warning from his psychiatric nurse that staff should not visit him alone.

It is believed that, on the day in question, Miss Ewing took with her a letter from the charity concerning money which Mr Dixon owed. It has been suggested that this may have been the catalyst for the violence that followed.

Reports suggest that Mr Dixon was being risk assessed by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Mental Health Trust at the time of Ms Ewing’s death. However, it is reported that his mental state had begun to deteriorate, resulting in schizophrenic episodes – at the same time he had begun to refuse his medication.

It is not yet clear why Miss Ewing was sent in to such a potentially dangerous situation. Her parents have demanded answers to questions concerning risk assessments. The family’s MP Stephen Hepburn has added his voice to a call for an open, independent inquiry into the matter.

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