Nicola Edgington jailed for 37 years for street decapitation, as report blames police blunders for attack


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The Independent Online

A psychiatric patient stabbed a stranger to death in the street after the police failed to act on her warnings that she was dangerous and going to kill someone.

Nicola Edgington, 32, of Greenwich, who has schizophrenia, hacked at 58-year-old Sally Hodkin with a meat cleaver in Bexleyheath in 2011. She also tried to murder artist Kerry Clark, 22.

Edgington killed her mother in 2005 but was released from a mental health facility in Dartford in 2009. She rang police on the day of the Bexleyheath attacks and said: "I'm dangerous. I need to go to a mental hospital. The last time I felt like this I killed my mum."

A report today condemned police who made blunders in dealing with her, but no officer has been disciplined. John Cooper, QC, said she had not been given the help she asked for. But Judge Brian Barker told the mother of two: "Your actions on leaving the hospital were a consistent and calculated course of criminal conduct. You are manipulative and extremely dangerous. These were terrible acts and you must take responsibility for what you did."

Mrs Hodkin's husband Paul said of his wife: "The thought of not seeing her, cuddling and kissing her again has destroyed me. I never had the chance to say goodbye to my wife that I loved and knew since she was 14. Over 40 years of marriage gone, wiped out by someone that should not have been on the streets. Sally was my world."

The sentence came as a police watchdog criticised officers for failing to check Edgington's criminal record despite receiving five calls from her pleading to be locked up.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission found that police in Greenwich had not been notified that Edgington was living in their area. Officers also failed to check the police computer about her background when they took her to hospital after a row with a taxi driver and they missed the chance to use their powers to section her. Edgington's second 999 call was downgraded because she was considered to be in a place of safety.

The IPCC found that no police officers or hospital staff had breached codes of conduct and so they will not face disciplinary action.

Last month Edgington was found guilty of murder and attempted murder when the jury rejected her claims to be still so mentally ill as to bear no responsibility for the attacks.