Family raise 'serious concerns' over day release of man who then killed mother


The family of a mentally ill patient who battered his elderly mother to death with a champagne bottle raised "serious concerns" over why he was on day release from hospital when he was "clearly unwell".

Gilbert Corette admitted killing 81-year-old Marie Corette and also attacking his sister Patricia after being let out of Lewisham Hospital's Ladywell Unit on July 8 last year.

The 45-year-old, who has autism spectrum disorder and a major depressive disorder with psychotic features, was given an indefinite hospital order under the Mental Health Act by Judge Charles Wide QC at the Old Bailey.

The judge told him: "It is a terribly sad and tragic case. You were obviously mentally ill at the time and this case must have caused great distress and anxiety to members of your family."

Afterwards, the Corette family said in a statement: "The last nine months have been an incredibly difficult time for all of us, but we welcome the sentence of the court so that now Gilbert can get the full care and treatment he deserves.

"We have serious concerns and questions about how he came be released when clearly unwell, on the day he killed our mother, and will await the forthcoming NHS investigation with interest.

"We sincerely hope that it makes a real difference, so that tragedies like this can never happen to any other family in London ever again."

The court had heard how Corette, the youngest of four siblings, had worked at Tesco for 15 years before suffering from mental problems.

He had shown some strange behaviour, including not opening letters and throwing away a valuable collection of vinyl records.

He was admitted to the mental health unit in early 2015 but had been out unescorted before the day of the killing.

Prosecutor Edward Brown QC told the court that Corette had not been violent before but his mother had been afraid of him and fitted padlocks to rooms in her home.

The day before the killing, a neighbour saw Corette knocking loudly on the door of the family home appearing "agitated and angry", he said.

His mother told him he could not stay at the house in Lochaber Road, Lewisham, so he went back to hospital only to turn up again the following morning.

Mrs Corette told her daughter not to let him in but when she opened the door to tell him to go home, he forced entry, the court heard.

He hit both women over the head with a bottle and when asked why, he said: "I have got to."

When emergency services arrived, they found Mrs Corette lying in a pool of blood. She died later that day in hospital.

Corette told police he had got angry when his mother and sister insisted he return to the mental health unit and threatened to call police.

The defendant had said at the time that he had a "death threat" and "freaked out".

During a hearing last month, Corette, of Manor Avenue, Lewisham, south London, pleaded not guilty to his mother's murder but guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

He also admitted causing grievous bodily harm "unlawfully and maliciously" to his 51-year-old sister.

Mr Brown said the Crown had accepted the pleas after careful consideration in light of "unanimous" conclusions of psychiatric reports.

A spokesman for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said: "We offer our full condolences to the family in this tragic case. We have carried out a thorough internal investigation into the care and treatment of Mr Gilbert Corette and shared this with his family.

"The trust is also participating in a Domestic Homicide Review in relation to the incident. We are unable to offer any further comment until this review is published."