Police launch manhunt after convicted killer escapes mental health facility

Theophilou was sent to Broadmoor Hospital without limit of time under the Mental Health Act.

A spokesman for the East London NHS Foundation Trust said: “We can confirm that we are actively working with the Metropolitan Police for the safe return of a patient.

“The individual had been on unescorted leave from the John Howard Centre, our medium secure unit in Hackney, as part of his rehabilitation, and did not return as planned on Sunday, March 31.”

NHS England says medium secure units “care for and treat patients who are a serious risk to others”.

An information guide produced by NHS England reads: “These patients need physical security to prevent them from escaping.” It adds that the facilities “focus on helping patients get better and keeping others safe”.

The John Howard Centre is made up of eight male wards, one female ward and one specialist secure ward for men with learning disabilities.

In January 2003, Theophilou had caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to Mr Breed’s house and car with a meat cleaver.

Theophilou had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act after the attack on the car, and was released from St Ann’s Hospital in August that year.

The Old Bailey heard during his manslaughter trial that a crack had appeared in the house Theophilou shared with his parents after Mr Breed started building work in 2002, shortly after he had moved in.


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