Pregnant Ella Parker was stabbed 33 times with a screwdriver by a man who two days earlier walked out of a Milton Keynes mental health centre because he feared the patients were going to eat him.
Ryan Blacknell, 24, was today sent to Broadmoor top security hospital by a judge who demanded an investigation into how he was allowed to leave the Campbell Centre..
The 24-year-old was muttering about dinosaurs when 29-year-old Ella Parker returned to her New Bradwell home on December 7 last year,
Five months pregnant, she was brutally attacked with the red-handled screwdriver, losing almost all the blood from her body. Her unborn baby boy also died.
Blacknell admitted the manslaughter of Ella, a Co-op manager, on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was ordered to be detained at Broadmoor indefinitely. It will require the approval of two psychiatrists and the Secretary of State before he can be released.
Luton Crown Court heard Blacknell’s own mother had called the police and a mental health triage team on December 4 after she found him rambling about dinosaurs and holding a large knife at the flat they shared.
In a recording made by his mother, Blacknell could be heard saying: “I know what happens in the afterlife. You know what happens.”
As a result , it was arranged for emergency services to take Blacknell to the Campbell Centre.
He stayed overnight, but signed himself out on December 5 because he was scared that the other inmates would eat him if he stayed another night, the court heard. He was reported missing.
Judge Richard Foster called for a probe into how this happened, and said: “I hope there will be a full investigation into the troubles of the Campbell Centre in not taking further action.”
After he had left Campbell House, Blacknell ended up staying with Ella and her brother Tim, who had know his sister’s soon-to-be killer since they were in nursery together.
Alan Blake, prosecuting, said: “Ryan Blacknell took Ella’s dog for a walk and returned about 10 am. Between 11 and 11:50 am, she made calls and sent messages to friends. The last message she sent was at 11:45.
“CCTV shows Blacknell left around 12:40.”
After killing Ella, Blacknell went to a number of pubs throughout the day and drank beer, before going to see a friend at the YMCA.
He handed himself into police the next day to say he had committed a crime and it was soon figured out he was the person who had killed Ella and that he had her blood on his clothes.
The court heard that at 2:30pm on December 7 a neighbour had gone to Ella’s flat and found her body. Emergency services were called and nearby residents tried in vain to revive her, but paramedics found she was dead when they arrived.
A post mortem examination found she had been stabbed 33 times in the back of the head and neck with a semi-sharp, semi-blunt object, with some of the wounds up to eight centimetres deep.
One of these puncture wounds cut her carotid artery and Ella would have passed out within seconds according to the pathologist.
A red-handled screwdriver was found in the kitchen of the flat in Newport Road, New Bradwell, Milton Keynes with Ella’s blood on it and this was determined to be the weapon used to kill her. Blacknell changed his clothes before he fled.
Andel Singh, defending, offered no mitigation to the sentencing judge following his client’s guilty plea to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
He said: “Ryan Blacknell presented as a person to psychiatrists as being quite normal, but clearly something else was going on in his head.
“He felt that the other patients at the Campbell Centre were going to eat him if he was to stay another night.”
Seena Faze, an expert forensic psychiatrist said that Blacknell was suffering from schizophrenia or a schizophrenic disorder, and that he would be a danger to society were he released.
A member of Ella Parker’s family provided an impact statement on behalf of the family, 16 of whom were in the court today.
Vivienne Parker said: “We as a family have found it difficult to put our feelings into words something so tragic and unnecessary. It is extremely difficult. We worry about how she suffered when she died.
“She was looking forward to having a family of her own.”
Ella was five months pregnant when she died and her unborn son also perished. Both of Ella’s parents had died when she was young.
Judge Foster handed down the indefinite detention order, saying: “This case is tragic and may have been avoidable. Ella was a happy and vivacious women, five months pregnant and enjoyed her day decorating her home.
“Her life was tragically brought to an end by a very sick man.
“I hope the family know that this is one of the most powerful orders the court can make. He may never be released and if he is, it will be under the most stringent of conditions.”
Blacknell was sentenced under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act.