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Elderly man "should have been protected" from neighbour who killed him

PUBLISHED: 10:35 03 August 2015 | UPDATED: 10:35 03 August 2015

Daniel Atkins

Daniel Atkins

Archant

Daniel Atkins detained under Mental Health Act for killing Ronald Parsons, 71

The family of an elderly man killed by his “erratic and intimidating” neighbour say more could have been done to protect him.

Ronald Parsons, 71, suffered severe head and facial injuries after being attacked by Daniel Atkins, who had several weapons, including a gun.

Atkins, 31, of Laurel Court, Cambridge Road, Bromley, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was given an indeterminate hospital order and restriction order under the Mental Health Act.

Armed police found Mr Parsons’ body after they were called to the address on March 2 last year. He was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance crews and Atkins was originally charged with murder.

Mr Parsons’ nephew said: “Ron was a quiet and private retiree, who kept himself to himself.

“He wanted nothing more from life than to live out his retirement in peace, in the flat that he had worked all his life to buy. He was dealing with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, which was leading to increasing frailty and lack of mobility.

“He was well loved by neighbours and friends, who also share grief and disbelief in this cruel, tragic incident.

“There is some anger that Ron spent the last months of his life with a neighbour whose erratic and intimidating behaviour was causing him distress and worry. Despite a history of difficulties that had been reported to the various authorities, it is not apparent to the family that anything was done to safeguard Ron, or his neighbours, from the obvious and increasing threat from somebody who was known to suffer from mental illness.”

Mr Parsons was the youngest of five siblings, three of whom survived him, and had seven nephews and nieces.

“All of us were obviously deeply shocked at the violent, sudden and unexpected manner of his death,” his nephew added.

“The thought that somebody of his age and physical condition could be so brutally killed, for no apparent reason, is not something that any of us will ever come to terms with. Ron was not a confrontational man and I can think of no reason why this would have occurred.

“It is very difficult to put into words how this has affected the family. His next of kin is his older brother Kenneth, who is 84. The reason I am providing this statement instead of my uncle is that he is still clearly coming to terms with the loss of Ron and the circumstances surrounding his death.

“Although Ken puts on a brave face, it is extremely clear that both he and his wife Sylvia continue to struggle with what has happened.”

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