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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Schizophrenic patient fell through the cracks

Everyone loved Anthony Waterlow before he got sick.  At first he started smashing up things like walls and doors but as his condition worsened, he started hurting people.  He had a string of AVOs,
and good behaviour bonds which finally ended when he stabbed his father and sister to death.  They paid the price for the incompetence of the mental health professionals who could have saved their lives.

His family and friends tried for years to get help for Anthony's slide into schizophrenia but when mental health experts were asked what happened, they have no answers, he just fell through the cracks of the system.

Father, Nick Waterlow

In November 2009 he went to visit his sister, a mother of three, at her home at Clovelly.  His father also went there, they were hoping for a family reconciliation, but their love and concern cost them their lives. He stabbed them both to death in a psychotic frenzy.

Despite pleas to doctors from family and friends two years before the murders, he was never scheduled or forced to take his medication.  The inquest into the deaths heard that it "beggars belief" that doctors didn't act to hold him as an involuntary patient - they couldn't make up their minds whether to keep encouraging him to take his medication, or simply lock him up.  Their indecision cost two good people their lives.

Sister, Chloe Heuston

An emotional Dr Alistair Peter McGeorge, one of the psychiatrists who treated Anthony, said yesterday that his patient was reluctant to take anti-psychotic drugs. Fighting back tears he said "Considering the awful tragedy that eventually occurred, you think about what else you might have done yourself."

Yes indeed.