Hospital: Convicted Murderer Was Low Risk

12 August 2013, 17:23 | Updated: 12 August 2013, 17:24

After a convicted murderer walked out of a hospital near Southampton at the weekend - officials say he posed an extremely low risk.

Hampshire Police said Daniel Rosenthal, 58, went missing at 2.30pm on Saturday August 10th after taking "a routine unsupervised walk around the gardens'' of Tatchbury Mount Hospital, Totton.

He was found at around 11am on Sunday 11th August in Southampton.

Police warned members of the public not to approach Rosenthal and described him as "potentially dangerous''.

According to reports he killed his parents in 1981 aged 27, and cut up their bodies into small pieces.

He killed his 65-year-old father, Milton, in Paris before murdering his 60-year-old mother, Leah, in Hedge End, near Southampton.

In a statement the Southern Health foundation NHS Trust said:

"Mental health services support people to live independently and to recover a life beyond their illness. Very rarely, people who are severely ill may commit crimes as a result of their condition and need to spend time in a secure hospital.

"Over time, we treat and support these people so they can rehabilitate and return safely to society. This process can take many years, so an important part of rehabilitation is the opportunity to spend time in the community and readjust to being away from a hospital setting before being discharged.

"Hospital leave is only granted following a thorough risk assessment which is carried out and regularly reviewed by psychiatric professionals. It must also be agreed with the Ministry of Justice that leave is appropriate in each case.

"The practice of granting safe, carefully managed periods of leave for patients in secure hospitals takes place in similar services nationally and is a vital part of rehabilitation back into society for people who may have spent decades in hospital.

"We want to reassure the public that the patient who absconded from Southfield during a period of leave posed an extremely low risk. We also want to clarify that the patient did not breach any security at the hospital but rather failed to return from leave at an agreed time.

"It is also important to remember that the offense that this patient committed took place 32 years ago and significant progress and recovery has taken place since then. If the patient posed any risk to themself or to the public then leave would not have been granted.

"We would like to extend our thanks to Hampshire Constabulary for their assistance in returning this patient safely to hospital."

Dr Julian Lewis, Tory MP for New Forest East, questioned why Rosenthal was given the freedom of taking unsupervised walks.

He said:

"Southern Health's very full statement is reassuring, but it is also hard to reconcile with the serious warnings given to the public that this patient was dangerous and should not be approached during the period he went missing.

"If he was that dangerous, he should not have been left in a position to be able to abscond.

"Alternatively, if the risks were as low as is now being claimed, then the statements made to the public were alarmist."