Swansea: man who killed father ‘desperately’ needed help, says family

·3 min read

The family of a man who beat his father to death an hour after absconding from a psychiatric ward has claimed the killer was not given the help he needed for his mental health problems in the years before he launched the fatal attack.

Dan Harrison, 37, punched, kicked and stamped on Kim Harrison, 68, a retired chest specialist, at his home in Clydach, Swansea, after becoming increasingly paranoid and believing that his mother, Jane Harrison, was in danger from her husband.

After his arrest, psychiatrists concluded he had been suffering for about 15 years from paranoid schizophrenia and had “persecutory delusional beliefs”.

Judge Paul Thomas QC imposed hospital orders under the Mental Health Act, meaning Harrison will be detained indefinitely in a secure unit, after he admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

In a statement released through South Wales police, the Harrison family said Kim Harrison had been an “exceptional man”.

They continued: “As a family we are struggling to comprehend why it has taken the loss of Kim’s life for Dan to finally receive confirmation of his longstanding diagnosis. We are greatly relieved that this has enabled him to receive professional support and restart the treatment he has desperately needed for the past two years.

“As a family we now wish to be given the time and space to grieve, to process events and to find a way of living without Kim – our much loved husband, father and brother. We shall continue to love and support Dan.”

Swansea crown court heard Dan Harrison had been detained under the Mental Health Act at Neath Port Talbot hospital 10 days before the assault because of “severe” aggression towards his parents. His mental health had been deteriorating since 2018 and he had stopped taking his medication.

He fled the ward on the afternoon of 12 March this year when a nurse opened a secure door. He barged past, ran from the hospital and took a taxi to Clydach before walking to his parents’ home and carrying out the fatal attack.

Harrison told police his father had caused him “trauma” and he had punched, kicked and stamped on him.

The judge said: “It is clear that Mr Harrison has been suffering for some 15 years from paranoid schizophrenia. That led to the forming of deluded beliefs about his father. It led to a significant abnormality of his mental function as a result of serious mental illness. His persecutory delusional beliefs extended to a wholly irrational concern for his mother’s safety.”

He added: “It may well be that Mr Harrison will never in fact be considered sufficiently safe to return to live in the community.”

A spokesperson for Swansea Bay University Health Board said: “It is important that a thorough review of the circumstances leading up to Kim’s tragic death is carried out. We will continue to cooperate as closely as possible with the coroner’s investigation, which will now proceed following the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.

“If Kim’s family wish to discuss any concerns they may have about Daniel’s care, we are of course very willing to meet with them.”