Former boss of Mary Griffiths’ killer felt it was a ‘serious mistake’ not to section him, court told

Mary Griffiths
Mary Griffiths

The former farm boss of a slaughterman who shot a Bury St Edmunds mum-of-three dead with a bolt gun today told a court that not in her ‘wildest dreams’ had she thought he was capable of such a crime.

John McFarlane, 46, murdered Mary Griffiths, 38, at her home in 2009, just hours after she called police to say she was scared of him.

Her daughters are now suing Suffolk Police and the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust for damages.

They claim that, had protective steps been taken by the police force or the trust, their mother’s death would not have happened.

Today, McFarlane’s former boss, Cecilia Gliksten, 60, told the High Court of her deep worries for his mental health in the run-up to the May 6 killing.

He attempted to take his own life and was assessed by mental health services, but the decision was taken not to detain him.

Instead, he returned to his home on her farm, the Denham Estate, near Bury St Edmunds, in the hope of going back to work.

On the decision not to section him, she told the court: “I said it was a serious mistake and they should reconsider, but it was too late to reconsider apparently.”

She added: “I was absolutely furious, livid and very upset.

“We were concerned about John’s safety and that he would try to commit suicide again.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I feel he would be a threat to anybody else, including myself.”

Earlier, lawyers for Mrs Griffiths’ daughters - Jessica, 22, Hannah, 19, and Sophie, 18, - told the court the death of their ‘wonderful mother’ was ‘preventable’.

She had been terrified when she called police about McFarlane, who had been stalking and harassing her in the days before the murder.

The trust decided not to detain him on May 3 and its staff visited him twice between then and the murder.

Mrs Griffiths called police on the evening of May 5, but officers did not prioritise the call and did not attend, said the daughters’ barrister, Nicholas Bowen QC.

Both the police force and the trust deny the claims against them and are defending the case.

McFarlane was jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years.

The hearing continues.