Jeroen Ensink inquest: Jury criticise police failings over killer’s previous mental health concerns
Jury find Dr Ensink's death could have "possibly" been avoided
17 July, 2018 — By Samantha Booth
A JURY inquest has criticised police for their handling of mental health concerns about a man who went onto kill a top biologist in Tufnell Park.
The jury at an inquest of Dr Jeroen Ensink’s death returned a narrative conclusion of unlawful killing, highlighting communication inadequacies between officers about Femi Nandap’s mental health months before the killing.
Dr Ensink, a senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, was close to his home posting cards announcing the birth of his daughter Fleur in December 2015 when Femi Nandap randomly attacked him, stabbing him repeatedly in Hilldrop Crescent.
Nandap had been arrested seven months earlier for possession of a knife and assaulting a police officer in May 2015.
He was released on police bail and returned to Nigeria where he was treated with anti-psychotic drugs before returning in October when he was arrested and charged.
Two months later, he killed 41-year-old Dr Ensink – six days after charges were “incorrectly” dropped by the Crown Prosectution Service.
Nandap, a then 23-year-old suffering with paranoid schizophrenia, is serving an indefinite hospital order for manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
Femi Nandap, right, stabbed Jeroen Ensink to death in December 2015
Dr Ensink’s widow, Nadja Ensink-Teich, who had to crowdfund her legal fees as she could not claim legal aid, sobbed after the jury’s conclusion at St Pancras Coroner’s Court.
Senior Coroner Mary Hassell became tearful as she thanked the jury, several who were also upset, and said she would be producing a prevention of future deaths report.
The jury said: “Based on the evidence we have heard there were a number of failings in the arrest, charging and custody of the individual.
“As a result he did not receive any mental health care, treatment or monitoring in the UK.”
They added: “It is possible these failings could have had an effect on Dr Ensink’s unlawful killing, but we cannot be certain.”
They said if his mental health issues had been acted upon by the “appropriate authorities” before December 2015, the killing “could have possibly been avoided”.
Two police officers admitted they had not submitted Merlin reports – which would have flagged up mental health concerns to other authorities. They both said in “hindsight” they would have.
Concerns about Nandap’s mental health were recorded, including worries raised by his sister, but not all officers saw it.
“The handover between officers involved in the case on May 23 was unsatisfactory,” they said. They also criticised the police systems used.
In a statement, Ms Ensink-Teich said the Met had never apologised to her for the failings.
She said: “This inquest has revealed numerous failings by police in their treatment and handling of Nandap.
“It has been distressing and exhausting to sit through two weeks of evidence and to hear of the many missed opportunities that occurred between May and December 2015.
“Taken alone, those failings may seem minor to some and may not be taken seriously by the police, but collectively, they show a system that repeatedly failed and place the public at foreseeable risk.”
She added: “I grieve for Jeroen who never got a real chance to see me be a mother and to guide our daughter through life. I grieve for my daughter’s loss of innocence as she faced death at an unacceptable age.
“I grieve for the ideal of family never realised. Not only was the love of my life taken from me, but with him also all of our hopes and dreams.”
Superintendent Nick Davies, from the Central North Command Unit, said the Met had carried out an internal investigation which concluded officers should have completed a Merlin report.
A Director of Professional Standards investigation, which concluded in December, found there were no misconduct matters but found areas of learning around best practice for dealing with mental health suspicions.
Supt Davies said: “The jury today has made an number of comments about previous police contact with Nandap and we will look in detail at the issues they have raised before responding to any recommendations the coroner may make.
He added: “We are constantly reviewing our processes and refining our policies to ensure we provide the best possible service to Londoners and where we could have done things better we will learn from those cases and make changes.
“We will examine this verdict to see if there is more we need to do.”