Schizophrenic Obsessed By Hannibal The Cannibal Freed To Kill Friend

A violent mental patient shot a teenage friend dead weeks after a leading psychiatrist let him out of hospital despite the concerns of colleagues, a tribunal has heard.

Before he was discharged in 2001, Harrington even asked a nurse: ‘Has anyone ever left here and gone and murdered anyone?’

Despite this, consultant psychiatrist Dr Shashank Chattree allowed him to be discharged.

Weeks later Harrington executed Anthony Rigby, 18, with a single shot to the back of his head with a .38 Olympic revolver at his flat.

On Thursday, the psychiatrist appeared before the General Medical Council facing serious professional misconduct charges over claims he failed to appreciate the severity of his patient’s condition.

An independent report found a catalogue of failures in the care of Harrington and concluded he had been let down by the health authorities and two experts who should have cared for him after his discharge into the community.

The GMC hearing was told Harrington had a mental condition which worsened after he was excluded from sixth-form college for intimidating other students.

He was also said to have forced his parents and sister to barricade themselves in their rooms and on other occasions had worn a suit made from car mats.

Harrington would wash all his food before he cooked it himself in his room and developed a fascination with guns, knives and swords.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Shashank Chattree signed release forms for schizophrenic Mark Harrington

Eventually he was admitted to Queen’s Park Hospital in Blackburn where he was diagnosed as schizophrenic and sectioned.

While in hospital he hit a male nurse over the head with a heavy ball in a sock and brought a copy of the serial killer film Hannibal on to the ward.

He also took delight in the suffering of patients and said he would refuse to take anti-psychotic drugs if allowed home.

Before he was discharged Dr Simon Plunkett, a forensic psychiatrist, examined Harrington and said he still had residual paranoid symptoms.

He believed the patient presented a further risk of relapse and said he had an ongoing fascination with weaponry. The hearing was told a multi- disciplinary mental health team met and took a decision to discharge the patient and in October 2001 Dr Chattree signed release forms.

After his discharge Harrington stopped taking his medication, showed further violence towards his mother and began to live for long periods in his car.

Harrington drew up a ‘hit list’ of victims and called round to Mr Rigby’s flat and shot him with a revolver he had re-activated.

Harrington was arrested with the weapon still in his BMW and was detained indefinitely in a secure mental unit in September 2002 after pleading guilty to manslaughter-on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mr Rigby’s mother, Carole, told the hearing her son and his friends were scared of Harrington because of his violent behaviour.

Dr Chattree denies gross misconduct arising out of his decision to discharge Harrington and allegations he failed to properly monitor and manage him in the community.

In defence, Dr Chattree said before his discharge Harrington’s symptoms were improved.

He said: ‘He was progressing well to a state where he could now be managed in the community. That was a view that we, as a team, took.’ The hearing continues.