A FATHER concerned about the mental health of his son who went on to kill a parish councillor was told by the doctors’ surgery that they couldn’t help him, an inquest has heard.

John Sartain, from Andover, contacted Adelaide Medical Practice to ask for urgent help for his son Alex, who believed their neighbour Cllr James Nash was a Russian spy and was working for Vladamir Putin.

He went on to fatally shoot Cllr Nash outside his home in Upper Enham on August 5, 2020.

The 34-year-old died when he crashed his bike later that day after being pursued by police.

Mr Nash, 42, died in hospital three days later.

At inquests into their deaths this week at Winchester Coroner’s Court, Mr Sartain’s father said his son had been a “normal, happy lad” before his mental health began to deteriorate in his late 20s after becoming “involved in drugs”.

Alex had been sectioned and discharged by the community mental health team in April 2020 as they had been “unable to contact him”. They sent a letter to his GP at the Adelaide Medical Centre but it was filed and never seen by his doctor. John, who runs a vintage motorcycle repair business, called the surgery for urgent help, six weeks before the tragedy, where he was told by a receptionist that “there was nothing we [the surgery] can do”.

A review later found this was inappropriate advice.

Speaking prior to the inquest, Mr Sartain’s father revealed he had warned Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust two weeks before the incident.

At the time, he said two people would still be alive had healthcare professionals listened, saying: “They told me to phone the doctor but the doctor questioned why they told me to phone them when there was nothing they could do.

“It’s pretty poor, if he had never had a problem before I could understand it. They should have done something more than they did, they were just passing the buck to someone else.

“If they had acted when I told them, then two people would still be alive.”

A spokesman for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said in response that they were “shocked and saddened” to learn about the incident and were fully co-operating with authorities.

At an inquest into Cllr Nash’s death on Monday, coroner Jason Pegg said even if Mr Sartain had seen a doctor, he might not have been sectioned again.

He said he was satisfied that following changes to practices and management at Adelaide Medical Practice, including the introduction of “several robust systems”, passing all discharge letters to a doctor and new partners taking over, meant that incidents like this would be less likely to occur and there is no “risk to life”.

Also in this week’s paper:

- Pub robbery a week before reopening

- Three pages of coverage on the James Nash and Alex Sartain inquests

- Parties make their pitch as local election campaigning begins

- Drug dealer avoids jail after being found with pants full of cash

- Mum of three left without water following leak

- Two rescued following roundabout crash

- YouTuber prevails in allotment dispute

- New Augusta Park nursery opens

- Two pages of YOUR letters

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