Serious case review in to Sidmouth killing

The Black Horse. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shf 5453-07-14AW

The Black Horse. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shf 5453-07-14AW - Credit: Archant

A serious case review is being held after a Sidmouth man, who stabbed a holidaymaker to death with a bayonet, was detained indefinitely in a secure mental hospital.

Killer Nicholas Jamieson, 42, was convicted after admitting the manslaughter of 71-year-old Brian Kemp, who was enjoying a quiet drink in the Black Horse, writes Stephen Sumner.

Neighbours of Jamieson had been concerned about his behaviour for months before the attack, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Police said yesterday the multi-agency review was under way, but the ‘random and unprovoked’ crime could not have been avoided. They had not been aware of Jamieson’s behaviour.

Serious case reviews are sometimes conducted in cases involving vulnerable adults to ascertain if there is cause for concern over how the agencies acted and to see if anything can be learned. They are not held to apportion blame.

Judge Francis Gilbert QC told Exeter Crown Court last Thursday: “The medical reports conclude he [Jamieson] was suffering from severe psychotic illness and his responsibility was diminished for that reason.

“I am making the hospital order with restriction for his own protection, but also for the protection of the public.”

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The court heard that Jamieson lived opposite the pub and his behaviour had previously worried neighbours.

Prosecutor Mr Simon Laws QC revealed how Jamieson stayed up much of the night, playing loud music and, at one stage, neighbours heard thudding sounds as he threw the bayonet into the floor.

Black Horse landlady Lynnette Helmer spoke this week of how some witnesses were still receiving counselling after seeing the stabbing in the normally peaceful pub.

She paid tribute to Mr Kemp and now hopes her staff and customers can move on, adding the incident could have ‘happened to anyone, anywhere that day’.

Following the sentencing, Mr Kemp’s family said: “Brian was a quiet, gentle character who kept himself to himself. Brian’s life was unjustly ended by a violent and unprovoked attack that night, which has left our family very saddened.

“We hope that Mr Jamieson’s sentence ensures that he is never given the opportunity to commit this sort of crime again.”

Detective Inspector Gregg Dawe, the senior investigating officer, said: “This was a particularly vicious and senseless attack on an innocent, defenceless man.

“The incident was also very distressing for those who were present and witnessed the incident.

“I would like to personally thank all of the members of public who were at the scene and the wider Sidmouth community for their assistance to both Mr Kemp and the investigation team.

“The investigation team supports the decision of the prosecution to accept a plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Given Mr Jamieson’s state of mind at the time, the sentence imposed in this case is appropriate to these circumstances.

Yesterday, he told the Herald: “This couldn’t have been prevented, it was random and unprovoked. He [Jamieson] hadn’t been reported to the police.”

Det Insp Dawe said a ‘serious case review’ was ongoing which would bring together the findings from agencies, including the police, social services and Jamieson’s GP.