A MURDERER who stabbed a friend to death on Christmas Day had told mental health services he wanted to kill someone.

Oliver Parsons was high on legal high Euphoria and alcohol when he stabbed friend Joe Lewis to death on Christmas Day 2014.

A report into the way mental health services cared for Parsons in the years leading up to the murder highlights a catalogue of failings.

Joe’s death is one of ten homicides being reviewed by Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, which provides the county’s mental health services.

Joe, 24, and Parsons were both staying at Mateusz Witczak’s flat in Warwick Mount Montague Street, Brighton on Christmas Day 2104, when Parsons who had a history of schizophrenia, personality disorders and other problems brutally stabbed Joe to death

The report published by NHS England today found that mental health services knew that the festive period was a known trigger for Parson’s outbursts.

He had been sectioned under the mental health act numerous times and been admitted to A&E with mental health and drug related episodes countless more.

In the months before the murder Parsons even rang the NHS 111 helpline and said “I want to murder people” and told Sussex Police he felt “angry and twitchy” and wanted to bite people.

He had suffered periods of hearing voices in his head, had thoughts of harming others and regularly missed appointments.

But the trust failed to carry out proper risk assessments, one keyworker engaged in an inappropriate relationship with Parsons – even giving him money for drugs, and records were not adequately updated the damning report found.

The report makes 14 recommendations for the trust to improve after identifying that Parson’s repeated assertions that he wanted to kill people were not explored by his clinical team.

The report said: “There was reasonable evidence to indicate that Parsons had the capacity to be violent.

“[Oliver Parsons ] had been in the care of trust services for a considerable period of time. Our review covered only a small proportion yet we found notable areas where care being provided was not in accordance with best practice. Staff knew the had a history of increased anxiety and risky behaviour at particular times of the year. However we found no evidence is of any actions to manage this in either a proactive or reactive way.

“We can find no evidence of any review of care plans, risk assessments or support plans following the vulnerable adult alert.

“We found no evidence of any joint working with substance misuse services, or any referral to substance misuse service.

The report identified four occasions when risk assessments should have been carried out on Parsons in the year before Joe’s murder – but none were carried out.

Parsons had only four face to face meetings with his keyworker between July 2014 and the murder. He missed at least six more.

The report concluded: “It is our view that this tragic homicide could not have been predicted or prevented. However we consider that there are actions that could have been taken that would have minimised the risk [Oliver Parsons] presented.

Whilst we cannot say with any certainty that these actions would have prevented the homicide of Mr Lewis, they would have minimised the risks that Parsons presented to others and himself.

Sussex Partnership conducted two of their own reviews into Parsons’ care – but told NHS investigators that they had not kept the notes of interviews and did not know the registration number of the sacked keyworker.


OLIVER Parsons had a long history of mental health disorders dating back to 1991 when he was first diagnosed with obsessional neurosis.

NHS England’s report highlighted years of occasions when opportunities were missed to properly identify the risks he posed to those around him. These are just a few of those occasions.

November 2011: Parsons went to Chichester A&E and said had been hearing voices and felt he wanted to harm himself. Staff noted a possible diagnosis of schizophrenia but assessed Parsons as low risk.

February 2012: Reported himself to police threatening to “unleash a **** storm” on Bognor l June 2012: At Chichester A&E he complained of increased agitation, hearing voices, increased paranoia, and “strong urges to stab others living in the hostel”. He said he felt he needed to “buy a big chef knife to protect himself”.

December 25: Attended Chichester A&E saying he had “hallucinations and voices telling him to stab himself in the belly/chest/eye”.

December 28: Parsons said he slept with a knife under his pillow

January 2013: Attended Chichester A&E three times in two weeks. Each time he complained of paranoia and thoughts of killing his neighbour. It was not until the third attendance that staff identified that his risk to himself and others was high and he was admitted to acute care psychiatric ward.

July 2013: Told Sanctuary Housing he had not been seen by his care co-ordinator for “a long time”. And said he felt abandoned, l August 26: Told Sussex Mental Healthline he felt “on the edge”.

September 29: Asked St Richard’s Hospital A&E in Chichester to admit him saying he was struggling with a “mad” episode.

He said he wanted to “go on a rampage and hit people and get drunk”. He said he felt he was a risk to himself and others. He was admitted to Oaklands acute care psychiatric ward where he remained until October 5.

November 6: He said he had been watching a lot of Russian television and that he “kept thinking that there was going to be a large bomb to end the world”.

December 22: Said he would be at risk of harming others. The crisis team said his “risk does not appear to be related to acute mental health issue”.

December 23: Police alerted about Parsons’ risk of harming himself or others.

February 18: Parsons contacted NHS 111 and said he “wanted to murder people”. The call handler’s supervisor called the police, concerned about his threats.

April 10: A friend calls Sanctuary Housing where Parsons was staying to say he had texted him to say he was “going to kill someone”.

April 12: He called Sussex Police and he said he “felt he was going to bite people and that he was getting angry and twitchy”. Police then completed a Vulnerable Adult At Risk form which was sent to the trust and West Sussex County Council.

April 17: Parsons is arrested for possession of an offensive weapon 

August 7: Parsons tells a Brighton and Hove City Council housing assessment: “manic in mood, constant highs and lows, I hear voices all the time and get very paranoid, nervous and unsure”.

August 12: Parsons was abusive to police at the entrance of A&E “he drew a knife to them” and was arrested.

September 16: Parsons is given a suspended prison sentence – and returned to sofa surfing in Brighton l October 3: A liaison nurse checked the police national computer and found Parsons had ten convictions for 18 offences between December 2001 and October 2004. These included four offences against property (including arson), seven theft offences, one public order offence, two drug offences and possession of a bladed article.

October 17: Parsons says he is snorting between one and two grams of Euphoria a day.

December 22: Arrested for vagrancy l December 24: Parsons saw his key worker off duty in central Brighton who noted that he appeared calm, relaxed and friendly with no intoxication.

December 25: Parsons stabs Joe Lewis, killing him.


SUSSEX Partnership was probed over ten deaths linked to patients in its care.

The "thematic review" was commissioned by the trust after the conviction of Matthew Daley for the manslaughter of Worthing grandfather Don Lock last May.

In each of the cases, concerns were raised about the mental health patients involved.

Dr Rick Fraser, chief medical officer, said: “On behalf of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family of Joe Lewis at what will no doubt be a very difficult time for them.

“Mental health is complex and difficult to predict. Mr Parsons also had a complicated history of misusing substances which, at times, made his behaviour unpredictable and impulsive. Our teams had engaged him with services to support him with his substance misuse difficulties but he declined this support. It is also known that on the day of the incident he had taken legal highs and consumed a large amount of alcohol.

“Where a tragic incident of this nature has occurred it is important we scrutinise the care and treatment we provided. We have done a lot of work to improve communication between different teams who may be involved in the same individual’s care and treatment, as well as strengthening our risk assessment procedures.

“This was a tragic case that has devastated two families and we accept all the recommendations made in today’s report.”