A well-known clinical psychologist has urged health bosses in Lancashire to improve mental health services after the death of a Blackburn woman.
Dr Adrian West was a witness during an inquest held this week into the death of 22-year-old Katie Foulds.
Dr West revealed his involvement in Katie’s case was pure coincidence after he saw her at risk in Blackburn back in July 2020.
Dr West stayed with Katie until paramedics arrived and, dedicated to his profession, he wrote out a hand-written three-page letter giving his assessment of Katie and what he believed doctors might be able to do to help her.
He never heard from anyone after the incident and, less than 12 months later, Katie tragically died after entering the sea at Lytham St Annes.
During this week’s inquest Dr West was outspoken and evidently horrified about what he believes were failings with Katie’s care including the fact that NHS services had left her in the hands of a private counsellor who uses reiki as therapy.
Dr West, who praised Lancashire Police for their extensive efforts to find Katie after she went missing, strongly disagreed with her diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder and believed that she was suffering from a psychosis which could have responded well to anti-psychotic medication.
He made reference to Katie’s religious beliefs and said he thought “she might have walked into the sea to baptise herself to join Jesus in the context of a psychotic illness”.
“It’s just pretty difficult to comprehend,” he said.
“There are some really fundamental questions to be asked. When I’m told there’s no evidence of psychosis who decided that somatic disorder didn’t count anymore and the pain in her neck didn’t count anymore?
“It’s affected (me) as you can probably tell. Things are so fractured and I think that there are named people who should be in front of you giving an account of their decision-making.
“I am especially concerned that this deflection of responsibility on the counsellor makes no sense. I think it’s misdirected.
“This is about a failure of local services to properly assess a woman and it’s very, very sad. Things are broken.”
Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust carried out a review of Katie’s care and concluded there had been a number of “limitations” identified and systems improved as a result of her death.
Dr West, from Chorley, has previously been involved in a number of high profile murder cases and is regularly used as a consultant by police attempting to profile killers including the man who shot TV personality Jill Dando.
Doctor’s assessment of man who shot 12 people in cold blood
In 2011 Dr West concluded that a “resentful” Derrick Bird was suffering from delusional beliefs which led him to carry out “vengeful, retaliatory fantasies” in shooting 12 people dead in West Cumbria.
The consultant forensic clinical psychologist spoke to 20 of Bird’s associates, including his mother and ex-partner, before giving evidence at an inquest in 2011.
Dr West found that on the surface Bird was an “ordinary man”, described by everyone as quiet and passive, but in reality was someone who accumulated grievances and never forgot them.
The expert also said he thought the gunman targeted his own twin brother David and his solicitor Kevin Commons to get his retaliation in first over his mistaken belief they were conspiring against him.
He then carried out “vengeance” against the taxi drivers who he thought had humiliated him before committing “dreadful violence” against random strangers in a bid to achieve notoriety on the morning of June 2 last year.
Dr West emphasised though that Bird, 52, knew what he was doing as he deliberately chose his victims along his driving route and made conscious decisions not to harm certain people.
Psychologist interviewed Salford killer
In July 2012 Dr West gave evidence at the trial of Kiaran Stapleton who shot and killed Indian student Anuj Bidve in a Salford street.
Dr Adrian West interviewed Stapleton following the killing. He told a jury that the defendant might have carried a gun to achieve some form of notoriety.
“Gun-related violence can be seen as a means of re-affirming identity and masculinity,” he said.
Stapleton admits manslaughter but denies murdering Anuj Bidve on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The Lancaster University student was on his way with a group of friends to Boxing Day sales in Manchester last year.
Dr West said he did not consider the defendant to have learning difficulties and that at the time of the shooting he had a “clear mental state” and was able to make rational judgements.
Dr West, called by the prosecution to give evidence, said that in approaching the victim and his friends “various witnesses describe him as not loud, not aggressive, casual indeed, walking in a hip-hop style.
“Mr Stapleton, seeing the group of students, was aware that they represented no imminent threat nor that there was any account of provocation towards him.”
Stapleton was later convicted of murder and given a life sentence with a minimum of 30 years in jail.
Dr West advises team who nailed Pembrokeshire Murderer after a Bullseye appearance
John Cooper carried out a series of murders in Pembrokeshire in the 80s and 90s but he was only convicted after a cold-case review uncovered crucial evidence in 2007.
The story of how police finally tracked down the murderer, a former farm labourer dubbed the “Bullseye Killer” — was told in a new ITV true-crime drama, The Pembrokeshire Murders, which aired in January 2021.
The gripping three-part series was based on a book, The Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching The Bullseye Killer, by Steve Wilkins, the senior investigating officer in the case.
Steve and his team spent two years painstakingly going over all the material from the investigations.
He also hired leading criminal psychologist Dr Adrian West to build up a profile of the killer.
He recalled: “I asked Adrian, ‘How dangerous is this guy?’ and he said, ‘Steve, I have only come across two people in my professional life who if I found in my bedroom in the middle of the night, I know I would have to kill them to survive.
“One is Donald Neilson, the so-called Black Panther, and the other is John Cooper’. And I just went cold. I just thought, ‘Yes, this is a dangerous guy’.”
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