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"Missed Opportunities" Linked to Killing Spree

Posted Mar 10 2009 3:38pm

An independent report released by the U.K. National Health Service and the Surrey County Council has concluded that a 2004 killing spree committed by a psychiatric outpatient might have been prevented with adequate treatment. The report added that the killer, Daniel Gonzales, failed to receive the necessary treatment for his paranoid schizophrenia due to "missed opportunities" despite nearly 60 appointments with mental health professionals for the seven years prior to the deadly events in 2004.

Both Gonzales and his mother had repeatedly requested that he be hospitalized to address his increasingly bizarre symptoms which included hallucinations, thoughts of self-harm, and a fascination with fictional serial killer Freddy Krueger and the Columbine school killings. Despite appeals to health authorities and his mother's Member of Parliament, doctors concluded that Gonzales was inventing his symptoms or was under the influence of street drugs. In frustration, his mother added in a letter to her MP, "...does my son have to commit murder to get help?"

On September 15 2004, Daniel Gonzales brutally murdered 73-year old Marie Harding in Sussex (while wearing a hockey mask). Two days later, he killed 75-year old Derek Robinson and his wife Jean, 68 in Highgate, London.He also killed Kevin Milloy, 46, in London and attempted to kill two other people. He was arrested after his final murders when a bystander saw him naked and covered in blood at the house of his last victims.

During the course of his three-day killing spree, Gonzales wrote letters to himself about his experiences (he gave himself the nickname of "Zippy") in which he described the murders as being "" ...one of the best things I've done in my life".After receiving six life sentences and being held in Broadmoor Hospital, Gonzales was later found dead in his cell in 2007. He had slashed his wrists with CDs.

The report concluded that doctors could not have predicted the extreme violence of which Daniel Gonzales was capable but also indicated that "more should have been done to engage Mr Gonzales while he was being cared for up to the date of the murders in 2004." A statement released by the Gonzales family indicated support for the report and its conclusions and added that ""We hope very much that the recommendations are acted upon so no-one else suffers in the way the victims and their families have."

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