9 Apr 2015

'Disgust' at further breakouts from Waikato unit

6:27 am on 9 April 2015

The partner of a woman killed by a patient who escaped a Hamilton mental health unit says he is disgusted two men absconded from the same facility.

Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre

Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre Photo: Supplied

Questions are being raised about the security of Waikato Hospital's Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre, after patients Benjamin Manuel and Morgan Hamiora-Smith jumped a fence and fled on Monday night.

The pair, who had a history of violence, were found yesterday.

Gary Chadderton was the partner of 53-year-old Diane White, who was killed by Christine Morris during a frenzied attack in 2010.

Morris, who has since been sentenced for the murder, had been a voluntary patient at the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre and escaped by jumping over a fence.

Mr Chadderton said he's still living a nightmare every day over the death of Ms White, and was "disgusted" two others managed to escape.

"It's a big joke," he said. "It's all talk. I'm just devastated by the whole thing. I wish it had never happened."

Mr Chadderston said something should be done to increase security, rather than having officials spending time "just talking".

Benjamin Manuel and Morgan Haimora-Smith.

Benjamin Manuel and Morgan Haimora-Smith. Photo: Supplied

Last month, Nicholas Stevens, a patient at the centre who had a history of self-harm, drowned in the Waikato River after being released unsupervised to have a cigarette.

The Waikato District Health Board (DHB) said the men who escaped this week used a kitchen utensil to break an electronic lock before scaling a two-metre high fence.

But DHB chief executive, Nigel Murray, said putting up higher fences to stop patients escaping would not be happening at the unit, as doctors believe it would be a backward step.

He said there will be an investigation into how the men managed to escape, and it would look at clinical practice, systems and processes.

Mr Murray said the review would also include Mr Stevens' case.

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