The CEO of the Springfield University Hospital has admitted a paranoid schizophrenic who almost killed a stranger 20 years ago was on unsupervised leave when he went missing from the mental health unit last month.
Absconder: Mark Ricketts
In a letter to Tooting MP Sadiq Khan, hosptial chief executive David Bradley explained Mark Ricketts, who stabbed doorman Mark Kemp 20 times in Tooting in 1994, was allowed to be left unsupervised as part of his rehabilitation.
The 47-year-old was reported missing from the hospital on March 22, although the public were only informed, via a police media appeal, four days later.
Mr Khan responded to this by calling for an inquiry to look into what failings by the hospital had allowed such a dangerous individual to go missing.
He said: "This is a relationship that relies on candour and honesty, and the local community feels badly let down."
Mr Bradley sent his response to Mr Khan on April 3.
He wrote: "He (Mr Ricketts) was on a period of unsupervised leave which had been planned and approved as part of his care plan and in preparation from his discharge.
"As I am sure you aware, unsupervised leave is part of recognised clinical practice."
Mr Bradley was keen to make clear Mr Ricketts failed to return from unsupervised leave, rather absconding from the hospital’s care.
He said: "As we stated above, Mr Ricketts did not escape from Springfield University Hospital."
Mr Ricketts was found by police on a bus in Lewisham on March 28.