Schizophrenic Patient Who 'Decapitated' Victim Had Been Released After Killing Her Own Mother

In the weeks leading up to the 2011 attack Nicola Edgington’s mental state rapidly deteriorated, an inquest has heard.
Nicola Edgington virtually decapitated Sally Hodkin with a butcher’s knife
Nicola Edgington virtually decapitated Sally Hodkin with a butcher’s knife

A psychiatric patient who murdered a grandmother had been smoking high-strength cannabis and believed she had suffered a miscarriage in the weeks before the killing, an inquest has heard.

Nicola Edgington nearly decapitated Sally Hodkin, 58, with a butcher’s knife in Bexleyheath, south-east London, in October 2011, six years after killing her own mother.

On the day of the killing, Edgington repeatedly called police to beg for help and told A&E staff she needed to be sectioned and felt like killing someone. In 2013 she was jailed for at least 37 years.

The diagnosed schizophrenic had been earlier discharged from the Bracton Centre mental health facility after just three years in 2009 to live in the community, despite an order ruling she should be detained indefinitely following the killing of her mother, Marion.

In the months and weeks leading up to the stabbing of Hodkin, a series of events identified as major risk factors contributed to a collapse in Edgington’s mental state, an inquest at South London Coroner’s Court heard.

Around two weeks before the killing, Edgington believed she had suffered a miscarriage, which was significant because she had been forced to have a termination against her will shortly before killing her mother, the inquest heard.

Sally Hodkin was virtually decapitated in the attack
Sally Hodkin was virtually decapitated in the attack
PA Ready News UK

She had also made a number of emergency calls to police about “crackheads” stealing from her flat in early October, and had also been using skunk, a strong form of cannabis.

On September 29, she sent a Facebook message to her brother telling him about the miscarriage and saying she wanted to reconnect, giving him her mobile number.

Elizabeth Lloyd-Folkard, a forensic social worker who was looking after Edgington, told the inquest that on 6 October, around a week before the killing, she had “no cause of concern about her state of mind” and that Edgington “sounded fine on the phone”.

But the inquest heard that contact with family members, substance misuse, and any issues around pregnancy were noted in reports as high-risk factors that could affect her mental health.

The now-retired mental health worker, who had known Edgington for around six years – and was part of a team responsible for her care, responded: “All of those things were dealt with in counselling.

“We wouldn’t have left her feeling like that if the counselling hadn’t been effective.

“I didn’t know at the time that she had used skunk cannabis.

“That was the most high-risk factor. She knew if she used it would send her into a psychotic episode.”

A damning report last year concluded a catalogue of NHS and police failings led to Hodkin’s brutal murder.

Hodkin’s son and solicitor, Len Hodkin, told the inquest: “All of those risk factors were present in the two to three weeks leading up to October 10.

“It’s not coming with the benefit of hindsight, this information was available to you and other members of the multi-disciplinary team at the time.”

The inquest continues.


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