Pain of health chief attacked by brother

A SENIOR health chief today told how she barricaded herself in her bedroom in terror as her brother smashed up her house and threatened to kill her. Jane Chambers, Ipswich councillor responsible for health, also launched a vehement attack on the county's mental health services after helping to prosecute her brother who doctors had judged not to be a danger to anyone.

A SENIOR health chief today told how she barricaded herself in her bedroom in terror as her brother smashed up her house and threatened to kill her.

Jane Chambers, Ipswich councillor responsible for health, also launched a vehement attack on the county's mental health services after helping to prosecute her brother who doctors had judged not to be a danger to anyone.

Mrs Chambers, 56, said: “There are too many people out there such as my brother and society is failing them.”

Iain Kirkup, formerly of Ipswich's Wilberforce Street, was yesterday sent down by Ipswich Crown Court for at least 236 days for the public's protection.

The 42-year-old had previously admitted making threats to kill, causing criminal damage and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.

Kirkup, who will be on licence for at least a decade, was also given a two-month concurrent jail term for the threatening behaviour and a one-month term for the criminal damage.

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But Mrs Chambers, who has tried to get help for her brother for the last seven years, said people like her brother need help not incarceration.

“While I am quite relieved of the break, it's not the help he needs. He should have been sent to a mental hospital or supported housing,” she said.

The charges, outlined prosecutor Andrew Shaw, stemmed from Kirkup's two-day rampage against his sister and her husband Bob Zablok back in June.

He smashed a bottle on the window of Mr Zablok's shop, Chocolate Boutique in Ipswich's Dial Lane, kicked its advertising boards and shouted, “I'll kill you all.”

The following day he attacked his sister's home in the town's Ruskin Road.

Kirkup forced his way through the gate, threw bricks, smashed windows and doors, threw a large stone that hit Mrs Chambers on the head, swore and threatened to kill her.

Mrs Chambers, who uses crutches having been born with two dislocated hips, ended up pulling a bedside table and mattress across her bedroom door.

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Chambers said: “It was awful. I have terrible flashbacks and I have panic attacks quite frequently.

“June 19 was Father's Day and he had tried to see his children, but his ex-partner - rightly so - had stopped him.

“He broke my back door, my French doors, my front door, my kitchen window and the utility window. My wooden double gates were smashed. It caused about £6,500 of damage.

“For the next 200-odd days it will be OK, but then what? How are they going to protect me when I go to the Civic Centre? He knows where I am.”

Richard Potts, mitigating at yesterday's hearing, told the court that Dr Bodhan Salomka, a forensic consultant psychiatrist with the SMHPT, found that Kirkup suffers from anxiety and depression problems, but that his mental condition does not require hospital treatment.

But Recorder Andrew Marsden, sentencing, said he found that there was a substantial risk of Kirkup's sister and brother-in-law suffering a serious injury, whether physical or psychological.

He said: “You still blame your sister and not yourself for the problems you are having at the moment.

“You are recorded as having visions and thoughts of harming people but Dr Salomka said you are able to control your actions.

“I don't think you are able to control your actions. There is therefore a grave risk of those thoughts being translated into action.”

JANE Chambers is the borough council's portfolio holder for health and well-being and sits on Suffolk County Council's health scrutiny committee, which means she monitors the work of local health authorities and is able to scrutinise and suggest changes to the work that is being done but does not have the power to enforce any decisions.

“Until 1999, he had an exemplary life - he has four children, he worked - but he simply went off the rails. We don't know what the trigger was.”

“I decided to help the prosecution because I wanted to get help for him. For seven years, I have tried to help him.

“I feel he has been failed by the authorities. They are saying he has stress and anxiety and depression, but why isn't he on anti-depressants? Why isn't he having counselling?

“I think he needs to be under the care of the mental health services. But we know what state they are in at the moment - there needs to be about £40 million in savings across east Suffolk healthcare.”

Alan Staff, director of modernisation at the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (SMHPT), told the Star: “Everybody is assessed to see whether they have a mental health problem that will respond to mental health care.

“If not, it's entirely possible that an individual will not be taken on by the mental health services.

“Prisons do have mental health care services and employ psychologists and even where a person doesn't have a recognisable mental illness, they may have psychological needs.”

Do you have a friend or family member you feel is being failed by the authorities? Or do you wish to praise good service? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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