William Eichler 22 June 2018

‘Racially motivated’ murder could have been avoided, safeguarding review says

The murder of an asylum seeker while living in supported living accommodation in Bristol could have been avoided, a safeguarding adult review has concluded.

Kamil Ahmad was murdered in 2016 by Mr X, a white British male, while both were residents in the same supported living accommodation for individuals with mental health needs.

Mr X was convicted of murder in 2017 and is now serving a life sentence.

The two men were residents of Milestones Trust, a nine bedroom converted Victorian house with a mixture of self-contained flats and bedsits sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities.

Milestones Trust seeks to enable people experiencing a range of mental health difficulties develop the skills to live independently.

Mr Ahmad, who arrived in the UK as an asylum seeker, had become a Milestones resident after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Mr X, according to the safeguarding adult review (SAR), had a ‘significant forensic history’ and had been detained in secure mental health facilities for a large part of his adult life.

The SAR, which had been initiated by the Bristol Safeguarding Adults Board (BSAB), found Mr X had been verbally and physically aggressive towards Mr Ahmad because of his race and status as an asylum seeker.

Mr X fatally assaulted Mr Ahmad after he was discharged from hospital where he had been detained under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act.

At the time of his death, Mr Ahmad was seeking a judicial review of the decision not to grant him asylum. He was also challenging the decision by Bristol City Council that he no longer met the criteria for care and support under the Care Act 2014.

The SAR report concluded: ‘Kamil’s murder was racially motivated and the culmination of a developing race hate obsession with Kamil by Mr X.’ It also concluded that Mr Ahmad’s death ‘could have been avoided.’

‘The decision to discharge Mr X by the Mental Health Tribunal was based on incomplete information,’ the report said.

‘As a result, it foreshortened his compulsory treatment and reduced the time available for AWP [Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust] to seek alternative accommodation for him and for Milestones Trust to commence eviction.’

It also found that, due to miscommunication, there was a ‘lack of preparation’ for Mr X’s return to Milestones Trust once he had been discharged from hospital.

The report said there had been ‘several opportunities’ stretching back to 2014 when the two men could have been separated.

‘The long-standing tension between them may have varied in its level of seriousness, but there remained an underlying dislike and resentment from Mr X towards Kamil, which was given full rein when he became mentally ill,’ it reads.

‘As housing provider, Milestones Trust were slow to act in pursuing the termination of Mr X's tenancy and needed the support of other agencies to achieve this,’ the report continues.

‘As a provider dedicated to meeting the housing needs of mentally ill vulnerable people, revoking the tenancy was not a course of action to be entered into lightly.

‘However, Mr X had been given several final warnings and his behaviour put him in breach of his tenancy agreement.

‘Continued sharing of accommodation was clearly detrimental to both parties and had a knock-on effect on other residents of the accommodation.’

Responding to the SAR, John Hoskinson, CEO of Milestones Trust, said: ‘We recognise that this tragic event has had a huge impact on Kamil’s family and, indeed, all those involved, and we are profoundly sorry for their loss.

‘We have spent many hours reflecting deeply on whether there were things we could have done differently and what we can learn for the future. In particular, we have considered whether we could have served notice to evict Mr X at an earlier stage or done more to challenge discrimination amongst residents at Wells Road.’

‘Many individuals we support experience prejudice on a daily basis and we remain committed to fighting injustice,’ he continued.

‘In response to this event, we have strengthened our assessment process and improved training for staff to ensure they are equipped to identify and address any hate-based incidents in future.’

Jacqui Jensen, executive director Adults, Children and Education at Bristol City Council, said: ‘This was a terrible tragedy and I, on behalf of the council, wish to extend my deepest sympathy to Kamil’s family and friends.

‘We have carefully read and considered the contents and recommendations contained within the comprehensive review and will act accordingly.’

‘The report highlighted that there should have been more communication with other agencies before the closure of the safeguarding enquiry. As a result our safeguarding procedures have been reviewed and staff working with adults at risk of harm will be given new training which incorporates learning from all recent SARs,’ she added.

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