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Husband sues NHS over his care before he stabbed wife

A MAN who stabbed his wife to death is suing the NHS claiming it failed to properly treat his mental illness before he carried out the horrific attack.

Neil Cumming: Was acquitted of murder charge.
Neil Cumming: Was acquitted of murder charge.

Neil Cumming stabbed wife of 16 years Jane to death at their family home in Longforgan, Perthshire, in July 2011 then drove at more than 100mph before deliberately crashing his car into a lorry near Dundee in an attempt to take his own life.

Mr Cumming was found not guilty of murder at the High Court in Glasgow the following June after a judge ordered a jury to acquit him on the grounds of insanity.

The 48-year-old was ordered to be detained at the State Hospital at Carstairs without limit of time.

Mr Cumming lodged an action against Tayside Health Board at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. He is understood to believe the health service failed to exercise proper care towards him before the incident.

A court earlier heard how doctors wanted to admit Mr Cumming to a mental health facility the day before the killing, but there were no free beds.

A spokeswoman for Mr Cumm-ing's lawyers, Thorntons, said the sum of money being sought had not yet been established and the case is in its early stages. She added: "We are still making investigations into this."

The High Court in Glasgow previously heard that Mr Cumming had been diagnosed with persistent delusional disorder in 1999 when he believed his wife was poisoning him.

He also thought he was being spied on when he worked at the Michelin tyre factory in Dundee.

He had been admitted to the Carseview Centre psychiatric unit at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee in the February before the killing.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC told the court in a joint minute of agreed evidence read to a jury that Mrs Cumming, 40, had tried to have him re-admitted to Carseview days before her death.

On Monday July 11 2011, Mrs Cumming had spoken to her husband's community psychiatric nurse over her concerns for his mental state. The following day the nurse came to see Mr Cumming and arranged for him to be seen later in the week by a Dr McLaren, who met the couple on Thursday July 14.

Mr Cumming's "paranoia was obvious" during this meeting, the court heard, and he was asked if he had ever considered harming himself. He replied that he had not and that he loved his wife and children.

Dr McLaren thought his medication needed to be reviewed and arranged for him to be admitted to Carseview, but there were no beds available. It was decided that the accused would be referred to the acute mental health response team who would monitor his condition in the community until a bed became available.

The next morning Mr Cumming stabbed his wife 36 times and, having taken a cocktail of drugs, drove at more than 100mph towards Dundee where he slammed into the lorry in an attempt to kill himself.

Mr Cumming told a nurse who had phoned Mrs Cumming's mobile phone after she died that he had "committed a terrible crime."

Asked what he meant, he would only speak about his medication, telling her it had been tampered with and it was "fake". An appointment was made for him at Carseview at 3pm that afternoon, an appointment he never kept.

Mr Cumming was trapped in his car with multiple fractures and abrasions and he was unconscious for several days in intensive care. He was later arrested and charged by police. The court heard his lawyer say how much he loved his wife and could not understand the events which led to him hurting her. He apologised to their families.

An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said: "As this is a legal matter we are unable to comment."

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