Man who stabbed wife to death sues health board over ‘distress’

Cumming was ordered to be detained in the high-security Carstairs State Hospital in 2012 as he was acquitted of murder on the grounds that he was insane at the time. Picture: TSPL
Cumming was ordered to be detained in the high-security Carstairs State Hospital in 2012 as he was acquitted of murder on the grounds that he was insane at the time. Picture: TSPL
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A killer who brutally stabbed his wife to death is suing a health authority amid claims he endured “distress and ­anxiety” over his spouse’s ­suffering before her death.

Neil Cumming is set to have an eight-day court hearing in his bid to win £250,000 ­damages.

His wife, Barbara Jane, 40, sustained 36 major stab wounds to her body, arms and hands in the attack at the family home in Longforgan, Perthshire, on 15 July, 2011.

He is suing Tayside Health Board claiming that a psychiatrist was negligent in failing to get him admitted to hospital the previous day.

Cumming was ordered to be detained in the high-security Carstairs State Hospital in 2012 as he was acquitted of murder on the grounds that he was insane at the time.

He was suffering a persistent delusional disorder and the production manager thought he was being spied on by work colleagues at a tyre factory in Dundee. Cumming, 50, subsequently raised a civil action against the health authority seeking compensation. In it it is claimed he “has endured distress and anxiety in contemplation of the suffering of the deceased prior to her death”.

It is said he has suffered grief and sorrow because of the death and that he suffers from the knowledge that he brought about the death. He is also seeking compensation for his detention in Carstairs.

Following an earlier hearing a judge said that Cumming was suing the health authority for compensation “in unusual circumstances”.

John Beckett QC said: “The pursuer’ claim is that a psychiatrist employed by the defenders, Dr Lyn McLaren, was negligent in failing to advise the pursuer of the availability of a bed at Murray Royal Hospital, Perth and in failing to arrange his admission there when he attended with her on July 14 2011 at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. He claims that, but for the negligence alleged, he would not have killed his wife the next day and would not have attempted to commit suicide,” said the judge.

After the killing Cumming tried to commit suicide, driving at speeds in excess of 100mph on the A90 Perth to Dundee road before crashing into the back of a lorry.

Cumming raised his action against the health authority at the Court of Session in Edinburgh claiming damages for pain and suffering over the loss of his wife and other matters.

The health authority has entered a plea that he should be unable to pursue such a legal remedy as it stemmed from his own illegal action.

During a further brief hearing yesterday judge Lord Boyd of Duncansby was told that an eight-day hearing was due to begin in January 2018.