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article imageOp-Ed: Double life sentence for killer, previously jailed indefinitely

By Eileen Kersey     Mar 5, 2013 in Crime
London - Having killed her own mother six-years ago, Nicola Edgington attacked two women, killing one. How could a woman detained indefinitely for the manslaughter of her mother be walking free and allowed to kill again?
Monday, Nicola Edgington, 32, was sentenced to a minimum of 37 years in jail for murder, reports Sky News. In February Edgington was found guilty of murdering Sally Hodkin, 58, and attempting to murder Kerry Clark, 22. She did not know either woman. Sally Hodkin and Kerry Clark, were on their way to work in Bexleyheath, southeast London, in October 2011, when Nicola attacked.
Kerry was the first woman attacked. Nicola used a knife she had bought in Asda, the supermarket known in the U.S. as Walmart. She launched an attack on Kerry, as the woman waited for a bus. Kerry managed to grab the knife. kicking Edgington away, who then ran into a butcher's shop.
Mrs Edgington emerged from the shop with a larger knife. She attacked Sally Hodkin with such force that the woman was almost decapitated.
It was revealed that six years before the knife attacks Edgington killed her own mother. Nicola "had been released to live in the community", according to Sky News.
The mailonline reports, The former prostitute and pole dancer had attempted to blame her actions on paranoid schizophrenia, and asked the court to accept a guilty plea to manslaughter with diminished responsibility.
But prosecutors produced evidence that her diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia was wrong and that she should be convicted of murder.
Trial judge the Recorder of London Brian Barker said: ‘You are manipulative and exceptionally dangerous. You made your choice and the fact is these were terrible acts for which you must take responsibility.’
But there are many others who must take some responsibilty, surely?
The IPCC, independent police complaints commission, has investigated the knife attacks and found several police blunders. Edgington made five emergency police calls just hours before the knife attacks, asking "to be sectioned under the U.K. Mental Health Act, because she believed herself to be a danger".
The Metropolitan police force who dealt with her calls failed to run computer checks, which would have revealed she had killed before. Ms Edgington even attended a hospital as she desperately sought help. Sadly she walked out after a lengthy wait.
Nicola Edgington was let down by so many people; professionals who could have helped her. If she had been sectioned under the UK Mental Health Act the odds are that grandmother Sally Hodkin would still be alive.
Of course, indirectly, Sally, who was murdered, her loved ones, Kerry, who was attacked, and her loved ones were all failed by many British professionals.
Nicola was convicted of the manslaughter of her mother in 2006. Just days before she was murdered, in 2005, Mum, Marion, wrote to social services stating: "She is the most unstable I have ever known her to be and for the longest period too." Social Services failed to act.
Nicola, a schizophrenic, was convicted of the manslaughter of Marion and the court ordered she was detained indefintely.
So how come she was in the community?
There is something decidely wrong with the British justice system, the mental health support available, police services, health care and so much more. Nicola Edgington knew that she was in a dangerous state of mind and she was right. If her pleas for help had been answered this could have been a very different story.
If the sentence given for the manslaughter of Marion had been followed through Nicola would have been locked away.
Yesterday Mrs Hodkin’s grieving husband told of his fury that the 32-year-old was freed to strike again in October 2011, six years after killing her mother.
Paul Hodkin said his wife and their 40-year marriage were ‘wiped out in seconds by someone who should not have been on the streets’.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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