Inquest to scrutinise tragic killing of pregnant woman stabbed with screwdriver in Milton Keynes

Her schizophrenic killer had discharged himself from the Campbell Centre

By Sally Murrer
Monday, 10th January 2022, 1:09 pm
Updated Monday, 10th January 2022, 1:10 pm

An inquest is finally set to investigate the death of a pregnant woman who was stabbed 33 times with a screwdriver in her own home.

Ella Parker died four years ago, in December 2017, after unsuspectingly inviting killer Ryan Blacknell into her New Bradwell house.

Aged 29, she was five months pregnant at the time and her unborn baby son died with her.

Ella Parker was stabbed to death with a screwdriver

Ella had been decorating her home in readiness for the baby's arrival when she opened the door to Blacknell, who was a childhood friend of her brother.

Days previously, Blacknell had been taken by his mother to the Campbell Centre mental health unit after she became concerned with his behaviour. But the 25-year-old, who was suffering from schizophrenia, discharged himself and walked out after just one night.

He claimed he felt the in-patients "were going to eat him" if he stayed, a court later heard.

After killing Ms Parker in her hallway, Blacknell changed his clothes before going to several pubs throughout the day and drinking beer.

Ryan Blacknell pleased guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibilty

He then visited a friend at the local YMCA, telling him: 'Everything is a bit mad at the moment. This is probably the last time you are going to see me.'

He handed himself into police the next day, telling them he had committed a crime.

In 2018 Blacknell pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to manslaughter by diminished responsibility. He was acquitted of an alternative charge of murder.

He was sentenced to a hospital order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act with a restriction order under Section 41 of Mental Health Act.

Ella's body was found in the hallway of her New Bradwell home

An inquest was opened shortly after Ella's death and revealed a post mortem examination found 33 puncture wounds to her head and neck.

A pre-hearing review was held last year and the full inquest was adjourned until next Monday, January 17 and there is a list of 21 witnesses - including doctors and nurses from the Campbell Centre.

It is expected the hearing will last for five days.

At the end of the pre-hearing review, aunt Vivienne Parker double-checked that the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust - which runs the Campbell Centre - was going to be represented at the inquest, which the coroner confirmed.

At the time of her death Ella’s family paid tribute to her and thanked Thames Valley Police for the way they handled the case.

The family said: “Ella could put a smile on anyone’s face, she was someone who you naturally drawn to as she was such a unique blend of kindness, warmth and humour. She was a bright light in the community and loved by many of all ages. She was full of life and ready for her next chapter as a mother.

“Now, she won’t be able to grow old with her family and her little boy won’t get a chance at life at all. Ella, a friend, cousin, sister, niece and mother to be. You will always be in our hearts and thoughts and we miss you dearly."