Mental health services could have done more to prevent a Dunstable man killing his estranged wife, an independent investigation has found.
Lee Anstice stabbed his wife Tracy, 37, through the heart on the driveway of her parents house in Flitwick, three months after she had first sought help for his deterioriating mental condition.
The investigation heard Anstice, now aged 54, first went to Luton and Dunstable Hospital A&E on June 17, 2011 after telling his wife he intended to committ suicide.
It was agreed he should be admitted but as his wife worked for the local mental health services trust SEPT, he was admitted to a bed in Milton Keynes.
He was discharged into SEPT’s care on June 20 but a week later took an overdose but refused to go into hospital. He took another overdose on July 7 and was then admitted to the L&D and was then found a bed in a unit in St Albans.
Over a month later he moved in with his parents in Oxfordshire and a week later he killed his wife.
The investigation found that although Anstice, an RAF veteran who had served in the first Gulf War, had expressed hatred of his wife during his treatment, there was nothing to suggest he might become violent imminently.
The Verita report says: “He had never expressed any thoughts of harming his wife and had no history of violence or aggression and had never presented in a violent, aggressive or intimidating manner to staff during his care and treatment.
“Mr Z’s [Anstice] GP saw him two days prior to the incident and wrote a referral requesting an urgent assessment due to Mr Z having thoughts of self harm but he did not have a suicide plan.
“Therefore we conclude that this incident was not predictable.”
It says he was carefully observed and assessed, well enough to be treated in the community and could not be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
“There was nothing to suggest that those involved in this case could have foreseen the incident or changed his treatment to prevent it happening. We find that this incident was therefore not preventable.
“We did however find areas of improvement in the care and treatment that Mr Z received.”
It said a lack of diagnostic formulations limited the ability of successive clinicans to understand the importance of his anger towards his wife and that discharging him from the care of the Oxford care team on the basis of phone contact alone fell below good practiice.
Policies for out of area placements also created difficulties and some risk assessment and risk management fell below good practice.
A lack of contact with a social worker after Anstice was discharged into the care of his parents was also “ a significant and serious omission”.
Record keeping and a lack of communication also came in for criticism.
In 2012 Luton Court Court heard Anstice had called his wife on August 26, 2011 saying he was going to visit their young daughter. She immediately went to her parents’ house and found Anstice waiting in the car for her.
Jailing him for 24 years after he was found guilty of murder, Judge Richard Foster told him: “Your marriage had broken down irretrievably yet you could not accept that, and you could not accept you no longer had control over your wife.
“You used every trick in the book to try to keep her.
“You thought only about yourself. You hatched a plot to confront her and kill her and then possibly kill yourself.
“With your military training you knew exactly how to penetrate her heart.”