A GRIEVING widow has hit out at the "catalogue of blunders" that allowed a schizophrenic to fatally stab her husband as he was yesterday jailed for life.

Gulsen Alkan said she felt let down by the authorities after she discovered how Trevor Joyce was free to kill art dealer Justin Skrebowski in Poundland last December.

At the Old Bailey yesterday, Joyce was told he would have to serve at least nine years before applying for parole after he admitted manslaughter following Mr Skrebowski's death in the Abingdon bargain store as the father-of-two bought balloons on his wife's birthday.

Oxford Mail:

Gulsen Alkan said her husband's death had been a disaster for her family

The family of Mr Skrebowski questioned Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust for allowing Joyce to be discharged just over a month before the attack.

In a statement read outside the court following the sentencing, they said: "Given what was known by the authorities of the state of Joyce's mind at the time, it is incomprehensible to us that he was left at large in the community.

"Justin died on his wife's birthday as a direct result of the minimally supervised release of a very sick man. The catalogue of blunders, missed opportunities and failed procedures defies belief.

"How many more have to die before the mental health trusts accept their responsibilities to protect the general public?"

The court heard how Joyce was a paranoid schizophrenic who was diagnosed in 2003 and had been a regular drug user since his teens.

He was sectioned for a month in June last year and admitted to Littlemore Mental Health Centre for treatment again in late October.

But Prosecutor Alan Blake told the court Joyce, who heard voices that kept him awake at night, had been released within a week, despite his doctor disagreeing with the discharge decision.

Oxford Mail:

Justin Skrebowski with his wife Gulsen and two children 

David Hislop QC, defending, said this had had the most tragic of consequences.

He added: "The decision to discharge Trevor Joyce against the wishes of a consultant psychiatrist had the most tragic and immensely sad consequences.

"It led of course to a tragic and unnecessary killing of an obviously very good man.

"He was killed by a man who at the time, and still is now, very, very mentally unwell."

The court heard how Joyce's rampage through Abingdon town centre on the morning of Monday, December 7 unfolded.

Mr Skrebowski had been buying balloons for his three-year-old twin children on his wife’s birthday in the store in Bury Street at 11.20am when Joyce entered the store.

He picked up a 20-inch kitchen knife from a shelve and plunged it into the 61-year-old's lower back.

Despite staff trying to help the father with a first aid kit taken from the shelves, he was declared dead at the scene.

Joyce then ran out of the shop and threatened an elderly couple sitting on a bench.

After being beaten off with the wife's crutch, Joyce shouted at another pensioner sitting alone nearby, saying: "Respect me. Do you want me to cut your f***** head off?"

He even threatened to stab a young child who was being pushed in a pram by her mother and waved the knife in people's faces, the court heard.

Mobile phone footage was played in the court chronicling Joyce's progress through the streets, shouting and swearing.

Shoppers appeared stunned and shocked as he ran amok around the town centre.

Before being brought down by police with stun guns outside the local Spar, he yelled: "Scum f***. I have killed someone now. I hope you are satisfied. Shake my hand. Congratulate me."

Ms Alkan said her husband's death had been a disaster for her family.

She added: "Justin's murder could and should have been avoided if there had been better communication between the authorities involved.

"I feel let down.

"I want a lesson to be learned so this doesn't happen again."

An Oxford Health spokesman said the trust offered its 'unreserved condolences' to the family adding: "We have met with Mr Skrebowski’s family and friends to talk through their concerns, and we will ensure they remain involved as we complete our own internal review."

Joyce admitted manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility when he appeared at Oxford Crown Court last month, but denied murder.

He also admitted threatening to kill Robert Wyatt and Ron Wilkins assault occasioning actual bodily harm to Mr Wilkins.

Oxford Mail:

The scene outside Poundland in Abingdon

Prosecutor Alan Blake told the Old Bailey Joyce had been taking heroin and crack cocaine the night before the attack.

He said Joyce, of Franklyn Close, Abingdon, had gone to get his methadone prescription that morning before going into Poundland.

Mr Hislop appealed for the court to not give Joyce a life sentence because he was safe when on his medication.

But Judge Zoe Smith said Joyce was a danger to the public and jailed him for life.

He will be treated for his mental health problems at Broadmoor Secure Hospital before completing his prison sentence and will be allowed to apply for parole after nine years.

Judge Smith said the "shock and pain" of Mr Skrebowski's "sheer random" killing was still being felt by his family.

The random attack shocked the community, and sparked an appeal spearheaded by Ms Alkan to get shops to lock up their knives.

The 39-year-old’s campaign resulted in a petition with 52,000 signatures, which led to Home Secretary Teresa May announcing shops had agreed safety measures in a bid to prevent a similar tragedy.