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Man admits killing his father days after being wrongly released from hospital in Maidstone

By Rachel Smith

A man has admitted killing his dad just days after being wrongly discharged from a mental health unit following an administration blunder.

Jonathan MacMillan was supposed to have been released from hospital in Maidstone on July 14, but was mistakenly let out a month early, on June 14.

Jonathan McMillan has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility Picture: Cumbria Police
Jonathan McMillan has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility Picture: Cumbria Police

Four days later the 28-year-old returned to his family home in Barrow-in-Furness, where he killed his father, John MacMillan.

Emergency services were called to Provincial Street, where Mr MacMillan, 70, was found with serious chest and throat injuries.

He was pronounced dead at the scene on June 18,

MacMillan appeared at Preston Crown Court and pleaded not guilty to his father’s murder - but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The court heard at the time of the killing he was suffering from severe mental health difficulties and was not due to be discharged until July 14.

The Honorary Recorder of Preston Judge Mark Brown said: “The defendant’s mother is entitled to be very concerned as to why her son was discharged from hospital in Maidstone.

John MacMillan was found pronounced dead at his home
John MacMillan was found pronounced dead at his home

“That is the appalling state of affairs that requires a full inquiry.

“As I understand it he was not due to be discharged until July 14 but by an administrative error he was discharged on June 14.

“The killing occurred a few days later, and his mother, when he came home, was most concerned about him - and whether he was fit to be discharged.

“He was loved very much and welcome but the public is entitled to have the most considerable concern, because once again this appears to be a failing - a serious failing - by the mental health services.

“I recognise they do wonderful work, but this is not a good case.”

The court did not say which hospital Macmillan had been released from.

When approached for comment, a spokesman for Cygnet Hospital, a private 65-bed mental health facility off Newnham Court Way, said: "I'm afraid it would not be appropriate for Cygnet to comment on an ongoing case."

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, which runs Priority House in Maidstone, confirmed it had not provided treatment to Macmillan.

Throughout the hearing, MacMillan sat in the dock, surrounded by four support workers from Guild Lodge, the secure unit in Lancashire where he is currently being treated.

Judge Brown said: “I am very grateful to all the staff who have come from Guild Lodge. All of you do an extremely important job.

"This case does throw up some real issues as to what has gone on.

“It is a tragic and complex case.”

MacMillan will return to court on December 3, when expert psychiatrists will advise the judge about the most suitable type of sentence.

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