Pregnant woman stabbed 33 times because man ‘thought people would eat him’

A mum-to-be was stabbed 33 times with a screwdriver by a ‘very sick man’ she took pity on and allowed to stay at her home.

Ella Parker was five months pregnant when she was killed last December by Ryan Blacknell, 25, who had walked out of mental health centre The Campbell, in Buckinghamshire, because he feared other patients were going to eat him.

In the attack inside her Milton Keynes flat, Blacknell, who was a close friends with Ella’s brother, plunged a screwdriver into the pregnant woman’s head and neck.

The 29-year-old was decorating the nursery in preparation for her baby son’s arrival when they were both killed. On Tuesday, Blacknell was ordered to be detained under section 37 of the Mental Health Act at Broadmoor Hospital and made subject of a section 41 Restriction Order for the safety of the public.

Judge Richard Foster said at Luton Crown Court: ‘He may never be released. There’s is no certainty about what is going to happen to him in the future.’

The judge at Luton Crown Court said Ryan Blacknell was clearly a ‘very sick man’ (Picture: INS News Agency Ltd)

Judge Foster said that he hoped there would be a full investigation regarding The Campbell Centre and its decision not to take further steps to ensure that ‘this very sick man’ who was clearly a danger to the public hadn’t remained there. The judge said: ‘It was because of that sickness that Ella Parker tragically lost her life.’ Mr Andel Singh, defending, said the role of The Campbell Centre in the events surrounding Ella’s death was a ‘troubling issue’. Mr Singh added: ‘He left The Campbell Centre because he felt the in-patients were going to eat him if he stayed another night.’

Forensic psychologist Mr Seena Fazel who had assessed Blacknell while on remand in Broadmoor, told the court he was suffering from ‘Schizophrenia’. Blacknell had originally been charged with Ella’s murder but, because of the findings by the psychiatrist who assessed him, his guilty plea to her manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility was accepted.

A member of Ella’s family, Vivienne Parker, said in tribute to the victim: ‘Her kind nature appeared to be her downfall. She had taken a killer into her home out of the goodness of her heart. ‘Ella was looking forward to having a family of her own.

She would have made a superb and proud mother.’ Ella, who worked at a local Tesco, lived with her brother Tim Parker after both their parents had died a few years earlier.

The court heard how, late last year, Blacknell’s relationship with a long term girlfriend, had broken up and, as a result, he had moved in temporarily with his mother.

He had worked as a warehouseman with Tesco and was a close friend of her brother, occasionally visiting their flat. The court was told that, in the weeks leading up to the killing, Ryan’s mother Rosalind Blacknell had noticed a ‘deterioration’ in her son’s behaviour.

She took him to a local health centre, where he was prescribed tablets for post-traumatic stress disorder, which had been linked to the summer of 2016 when he was the victim of an assault. However, in early December, he made threats to his mother with a large knife while drinking.

Prosecutor Mr Blake said that, in an incoherent rant towards his mum, Blacknell spoke of ‘dinosaurs’, adding: ‘He said he knew what she had done and knew that she had killed babies.’ That evening, the mum managed to get her son out of her home and, after contacting the police and health professionals, he was admitted on the evening of December 4 last year to the Campbell Centre, a local mental health unit in Milton Keynes.

The following evening, on December 5, Blacknell left and was reported missing. From there, he made his way to the flat of Tim and Ella, where he was allowed to stay temporarily. The following day, her last call was to her friend at around 11.45 that morning.

Between that time and when Blacknell left the flat at around 12.41, Ella had been stabbed to death. He left the flat and visited several pubs before he went to see a friend, who he told: ‘Everything is a bit mad at the moment. This is probably the last time you are going to see me.’ Ella was found lying in the hallway in a pool of blood that afternoon by a friend who came to help her decorate her unborn baby’s room. The following morning on Friday 8 December, Blacknell went to the police station in Milton Keynes and handed himself in.

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