Hospital order called ‘meaningless sentence’ by sister of murdered woman

Hospital order called 'meaningless sentence' by sister of murdered woman 1

Yemi Ilumoka, the sister of a pregnant woman who was tragically murdered by a paranoid schizophrenic, has spoken out against the unfairness and injustice of hospital orders. It has been 16 years since her sister, Abiodun (Abi), lost her life at the hands of a man suffering from severe mental illness. In an interview with ITV News London, Yemi expressed her frustration with the legal system, which she believes continues to penalize her family. She argues that changes are desperately needed to support the families of those killed by individuals with severe mental illness. Yemi’s plea highlights the need for reform and a more compassionate approach to dealing with such tragic situations.

Review of Prosecutors’ Decision

Hospital order called 'meaningless sentence' by sister of murdered woman 2

The families of Grace O’Malley Kumar, Barnaby Webber, and Ian Coates expressed their anger outside Nottingham Crown Court after the attorney general announced a review of the prosecutors’ decision to accept a manslaughter plea in the Nottingham attacks case. Following the sentencing, Emma Webber, the mother of Barnaby Webber, James Coates, the son of Ian Coates, and Dr. Sanjoy Kumar, the father of Grace O’Malley Kumar, made statements expressing their disappointment with the outcome. Emma Webber stated that “true justice has not been served today” and that the families felt let down by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). She also accused Nottinghamshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin of having “blood on his hands” for failing to detain the perpetrator, Calocane, after an arrest warrant was issued in September 2022 for assaulting an officer.

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Personal Experience

The recent case has brought back painful memories for Yemi Ilumoka, whose sister, Abi, was brutally murdered by her boyfriend, Ben Anabah, in 2008. Abi, who was heavily pregnant at the time, lost her life along with her unborn baby. Anabah was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter with diminished responsibility. Initially, the family was informed that Anabah would be held indefinitely in a secure hospital. However, two years later, Yemi received an unexpected email stating that Anabah was going to the Mental Health Tribunal and could potentially be discharged. This news left Yemi shaken and in tears. Furthermore, the family was not informed when Anabah was allowed escorted visits into the community. Yemi expressed her frustration, comparing their situation to the injustice faced by Mr. Bates in the Post Office scandal, feeling that the criminal justice system was failing them with meaningless sentencing.

Call for Change

Hospital order called 'meaningless sentence' by sister of murdered woman 3

At the last minute, the killer in Nottingham pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter, claiming his diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia as the reason. The family of the victims had no say in this decision and felt blindsided by it. Yemi, who lost her sister 16 years ago, has been fighting for change alongside her MP. She is advocating for a tariff or minimum term to be attached to indefinite hospital orders. Yemi also wants section 45A to be applied, which would allow offenders with treatable mental conditions to serve the remainder of their sentences in the criminal system once they are well. Additionally, she wants to put an end to annual reviews that allow hospital order offenders to have their sentences assessed after just six months. Yemi speaks about the torture she experiences, having received three notifications in one year alone. She is part of a group of over 100 families who face this annual torment, and she fears that the families in Nottingham will suffer the same pain unless changes are made.

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Ministry of Justice’s Response

On the question of offenders being able to plead guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has reiterated that no patient can be released without the express approval of the Secretary of State and those releases can be blocked if they are deemed to be a danger to the public. On hospital orders being reviewed, the MOJ says it knows how stressful this is for the families and it has put more money into support services.

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