Retired doctor was beaten to death by his son who fled mental health unit

Author: Yuvi August 16, 2022

Retired doctor was beaten to death by his son who fled mental health unit… as family hits out at time it took to restart his treatment after he stopped taking medication

Schizophrenic Daniel Harrison, 68, beat his own father, a retired doctor, to death Defendant in whatever way is best’

A retired doctor was beaten to death by his own son an hour after the paranoid schizophrenic escaped from a mental health unit.

Daniel Harrison took a taxi to his parents’ country home before attacking father Kim in the kitchen.

Dr Harrison, 68, an expert in pulmonary fibrosis, never recovered from the brain injuries he sustained.

The grandfather died 20 days after the attack in March.

In a statement released after Harrison was made the subject of an indefinite hospital order yesterday, his family said they were ‘struggling to comprehend’ why it took the loss of his father for the defendant to have ‘the treatment he has desperately needed’ restarted.

Swansea Crown Court heard Harrison had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic 15 years ago and spent time in the city’s Cefn Coed Hospital.

Retired doctor Kim Harrison, 68, was beaten to death by his son, a paranoid schizophrenic who had fled a mental health unit

William Hughes QC, prosecuting, said the 37-year-old’s condition worsened in 2018 when he stopped taking medication and became increasingly paranoid.

He was banned from the family home for some 18 months before being allowed to return last Christmas – but was later admitted to hospital again due to his continued ‘severe’ aggression towards his parents.

Mr Hughes said Harrison was later sectioned under the Mental Health Act, believing his mother, Jane, also a retired doctor, was in danger from his father.

Harrison made a series of calls to his mother, warning that his father posed a danger to her, before managing to flee from a secure ward at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

Harrison, 37, was able to flee the secure ward of Neath Port Talbot Hospital (above) before catching a taxi to the family home

Harrison, 37, was able to flee the secure ward of Neath Port Talbot Hospital (above) before catching a taxi to the family home

CCTV showed him running across a car park, pursued by hospital staff who called to warn his parents that Harrison could be heading to them. The court heard Mr and Mrs Harrison locked the doors and windows of the gated property in Clydach, Swansea Valley.

When Harrison arrived by taxi, his mother went to the library to phone the police but as she made the call, she heard her husband letting in their son.

Mr Hughes said: ‘She did not hear any voices or noises during the five minutes she was in the library. She went into the kitchen and there she saw her husband laying on his back… She could see he had shocking facial injuries.’

The family have questioned why it took so long for the defendant's treatment to be restarted

The family have questioned why it took so long for the defendant’s treatment to be restarted

Harrison fled on foot and caught a train from Swansea to London and was arrested two days later.

Harrison then told police that he felt ‘manipulated’ by his parents and that his father had caused him ‘trauma’.

The defendant had denied murder but admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, after two psychiatrists found that he had abnormal mental function and ‘persecutory delusional beliefs’.

Judge Paul Thomas QC described the case as ‘utterly tragic on so many levels’.

He said Harrison’s ‘persecutory delusional beliefs extended to a wholly irrational concern for his mother’s safety’.

Dr Harrison, a father of four and a renowned chest consultant, helped to set up the Respiratory Unit at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital during a nearly 40-year long career in the NHS.

Following the sentencing, his family said: ‘As a family we are struggling to comprehend why it has taken the loss of Kim’s life for Dan to finally receive confirmation of his long-standing diagnosis.

‘We are greatly relieved that this has enabled him to receive professional support and restart the treatment he has desperately needed for the past two years.’

They said they would ‘continue to love and support Dan in whatever way is best for him and for our future family life’.

Swansea Bay University Health Board said: ‘It is important that a thorough review of the circumstances leading up to Kim’s tragic death is carried out.’

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16 August, 2022, 2:58 am

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