New health review into Cawdery killing case

Marjorie and Michael Cawdery.
Marjorie and Michael Cawdery.

Health authorities are to set up an independent panel to review issues surrounding the killing of Portadown pensioners Michael and Marjorie Cawdery.

Thomas McEntee (41) was given a life sentence for the manslaughter of the 83-year-olds, who were killed at the their Upper Ramone Park home in May last year.

Thomas McEntee

Thomas McEntee

The pensioners were stabbed to death by McEntee who had visited hospital four times prior to the killings. The Cawdery family asked why he was not flagged up as dangerous.

Although a Serious Adverse Incident Report (SAI) was issued by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust (SHSCT), it has been confirmed both the Public Health Agency and the Health and Social Care Board are to set up an independent review panel.

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said the Cawdery family, led by the couple’s son-in-law, Charles Little, has strived for the truth and to affect change in how those with mental health issues, who may be a danger, are dealt with.

“It is clear that the SAI report issued by the Trust has serious flaws and does not address many of the issues. Although it has been sent to the Coroners Court, there is now going to be a further review using a independent reviewer.

“This is a small victory for the family who remain stoic in finding what the missed opportunities were and what action has now been taken to amend the structures in place to deal with those with serious mental health issues.

“This is more than just about the killing of Michael and Marjorie Cawdrey, this is about how to keep the community safe while at the same time providing a level of support and compassion to those that have mental health issues and who live in our community.”

When asked for details about any proposed independent review the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency each gave the same response: “The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) are working closely with the Cawdery family to put in place a process to include a newly appointed independent review panel.

“The Trust is fully committed to this process and we will be working closely with all those involved in the review.”