Lance Scott Walker: Family says councils to blame for Holloway teen’s killing while in care
- Credit: Archant
Islington Council “failed” a vulnerable teen who was stabbed to death in the supported housing he shared with his killer. That’s the belief of Lance Scott Walker’s heartbroken family, who saw his killer locked up this week.
Social services placed Holloway boy Lance, 18, in a flat in Hayes in January 2016. His aunt Patricia O’Neill says he was doing “fantastically” well and had enrolled on a college course to pursue his dreams of becoming a carpenter.
But on August 15 at 3.30pm Idris Hassan, an 18-year-old who had moved in two weeks earlier, walked into the office where Lance was chatting with staff and stabbed him in the back twice.
Lance managed to escape through the window but collapsed on the ground where Hassan, who had followed through the front door, knifed him repeatedly.
Hassan was schizophrenic and had been detained under the Mental Health Act in October 2015 before being discharged in May. He had convictions for having a blade in public and violence, and was referred after being found with an Isis booklet.
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He had been arguing with Lance since arriving and was off medication when he attacked him. Patricia feels both boys were failed by Islington and Ealing social services.
“They are to blame,” she told the Gazette. “They failed both boys. Hassan had severe mental health problems.
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“Lance had been there in independent living for seven months. It was a home he was established in. He and another boy [not Hassan] were living there with a carer. Both were doing fantastically.”
At an Old Bailey hearing on Monday Hassan denied murder but admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility and was given an indefinite hospital order.
Judge Michael Topolski said: “Tragically it was the defendant’s very disturbed state of mind that led to the terrible events when yet another young life was brought to an end by use of a knife. This is a truly tragic case.”
An emotional Patricia said: “Our family lost a dear son, cousin and nephew. Not only was his life stolen but his future and the memories he was yet to make, the children he never had and the life he will never live.
“Lance was funny and witty. He always had something to say and never failed to surprise his family and friends.
“Our hearts break every time we realise we will never speak to him again, never see him grow, never be able to tell him how much he was loved by his friends, his family and lovely girlfriend.”
Islington is investigating why Lance was placed in the accommodation, as well as officers’ involvement with him while he was there, as part of a review by the Ealing Council.
An Islington Council spokesman said: “The tragic loss of Lance’s life has devastated his family. Some of our staff worked closely with Lance and his family and have offered their deepest sympathies.
“We are actively contributing to a review into Lance’s death, which is being undertaken by Ealing Adults Safeguarding Board.
“We cannot comment any further until the review is completed.”