Charity fined over stabbed graduate
A young mental health worker stabbed to death during her probationary period was failed by her charity employer, a court has ruled, fining the organisation £50,000.
Mental Health Matters admitted it failed to protect Northumbria University graduate Ashleigh Ewing, who was killed by paranoid schizophrenic Ronald Dixon just under four years ago.
The 22-year-old was visiting the patient in his home when she was attacked, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
The charity pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations. It was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs.
The judge Mr Justice Keith said: “The fact that a life has tragically been lost is a fact which must be reflected in the level of the fine. But it goes without saying that nothing can compensate for the loss of Ashleigh’s life, which is of course precious.”
Psychology graduate Miss Ewing, who was from Hebburn, South Tyneside, was visiting Dixon’s home in Eighth Avenue, Heaton, as part of her work with the Sunderland-based charity. The former Hebburn Comprehensive pupil was alone on the last day of her six-month probation period when she was attacked.
Dixon, who later admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, stabbed her 39 times using four different kitchen knives.