Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Park Killer 'Was Lover of Hospital Worker'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Park Killer 'Was Lover of Hospital Worker'

Article excerpt


THE KILLER who walked out of a mental hospital and stabbed a man to death in Richmond Park was having an affair with a hospital worker, it was claimed today.

Schizophrenic John Barrett knifed banker Denis Finnegan, 50, in a random attack after he was allowed to walk out of a secure ward at Springfield Hospital in Tooting. He is serving life for manslaughter.

The victim's brother, John Finnegan, said he was "shocked" by the new allegations and demanded that they be investigated.

The claims come from Andre Downer, a former Springfield nurse turned whistleblower.

He said Barrett had formed a sexual relationship with an unnamed woman employee at the hospital which lasted some months before the killing last September.

He also alleged that confidential records of Barrett's treatment had gone missing and may have been seen by the patient.

The woman who is said to have had the affair with Barrett is still working at Springfield and still has access to confidential documents.

The NHS Trust responsible for Springfield carried out an internal investigation after the killing, but a new independent inquiry is now being set up under chairman Robert Robinson.

This may examine whether the relationship took place and if it played a part in the chain of events which led to the killing.

Mr Downer, a charge nurse and trade union steward, worked at Springfield for six years and admitted-Barrett to the hospital in 2002.

He was suspended in 2003 and has since resigned. He said he had been informed about the affair by three current Springfield employees.

He said: "Mr Barrett was having a sexual relationship with a member of the ward staff.

"Mysteriously, formal documents and medical notes about Mr Barrett's history and care had gone missing, all prior to the Richmond Park incident. …

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