East Kilbride News
Inquiry into death of mum killed by partner
A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) will be held into the death of an East Kilbride mum who was stabbed 57 times by her mentally ill partner just hours after he was released from hospital.
Joanne Gallacher was bludgeoned by James Kennedy after popping in to check on his welfare when he was released from hospital two days after drinking weed killer.
He had been assessed by psychiatrists before he was sent home, but hours later police had to remove steak knives from his flat in Biggar after he dialled 999 for an ambulance and hung up.
The 33-year-old East Kilbride mum-of-four struggled with her own mental health, but often tried to help others.
On the day of her death, a psychiatric nurse spoke to Kennedy on the phone and a police call handler rang Joanne, who was concerned for his safety, to tell her he was safe and well.
She was stabbed to death two hours later on December 21, 2018.
When police arrived at the scene they found Kennedy covered in blood and Joanne lying on the kitchen floor.
Kennedy was sent to the State Hospital at Carstairs after admitting culpable homicide due to diminished responsibility at the High Court in Glasgow in 2019.
In the wake of her death, Joanne’s mum Louise spoke out about the situation, blaming the NHS.
In a statement last week, the 61-year-old from East Kilbride, said: “The first FAI hearing on July 12 would have been Joanne’s 38th birthday and that detail alone makes me sick to my stomach.
“Do people who organise FAIs not even think about the emotional impact of such things?
“Nonetheless, I am pleased this FAI is now going ahead, but I’m obviously still devastated about why it’s going ahead.
“It’s not just Kennedy that’s responsible for Joanne’s death – there is serious gaps in process and care that contributed to this and that’s what we need to address to make sure something like this never happens again.
“The last few years have been a rollercoaster so this FAI is the first sense of progress we’ve had.
“But ultimately Kennedy is alive and Joanne isn’t, and no amount of hearings will ever change that.”
Gordon Dalyell, partner at Digby Brown, added: “What happened to Joanne was a completely avoidable tragedy and we will continue to support and advise her family.
“We hope the FAI will reveal just what went wrong that day on December 22, 2018, and provide the answers the Gallacher family deserve, while making hospitals safer for the future.”
The inquiry will investigate the circumstances leading up to the tragedy, with a focus on the way Kennedy was managed and risk-assessed by mental health services.
The care planning and interagency communications in the lead up to her killing will also be examined.
Procurator Fiscal Katrina Parkes, who leads on death
investigations for the Crown Prosecution and Procurator Fiscals Service, said: “The Lord Advocate considers that the death of Joanne Gallacher occurred in circumstances giving rise to significant public concern and as such a discretionary Fatal Accident Inquiry should be held.
“An FAI will allow a full
public airing of the evidence of the procurator fiscal’s wider investigations with interested parties. The evidence will be tested in a public setting and be the subject of an independent judicial determination.”
The preliminary hearing is set for July 12 at Hamilton Sheriff Court.