MEASURES have been put in place to prevent any repetition of an incident last month in which a killer mental patient went on the run in Wellington.

Laura Van Marle was on escorted leave in the town centre when she used a weapon to threaten a staff member who was with her and absconded.

She was described as ‘dangerous’ and people were warned to immediately ring 999 if they saw her.

Police took her back into custody the next day after she was found to have made her way to Bristol.

Forty-three-year-old Van Marle was a patient in the medium secure Wellesley Hospital, in Chelston, on the edge of Wellington, which is run by Elysium Healthcare.

She was being held by a Crown Court order under the Mental Health Act after stabbing her mother to death with a kitchen knife in 2021.

Elysium told the Wellington Weekly at the time that an ‘immediate, and thorough investigation’ was being held into the circumstances of Van Marle’s escape.

Now, Wellington police Sgt Jon O’Connor has told town councillors that Elysium had given him assurances that ‘robust measures’ were in place to prevent anything similar happening again.

Sgt O’Connor told councillors in his monthly report to them: “The circumstances surrounding this absconding have been fully investigated by our CID teams and appropriate safeguarding completed.

“I have met with the senior management team to present local concerns both from the public and police about this incident.

“I have received assurances that robust measures are in place to prevent any reoccurrence of this type.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the hospital to ensure this remains a unique and isolated event.”

Sgt O’Connor said fears and concerns had been raised by the local community following Van Marle’s absconding.

He said: “Our team works very closely with Wellesley Hospital and I hold regular police liaison meetings with senior managers.”

Sgt O’Connor said a beat surgery was also hosted by PCSO Simon Bramley for patients and staff.

The absconding incident will be discussed by town councillors at their monthly meeting on Monday (September 4) after town clerk Dave Farrow wrote to Elysium to seek answers to a number of questions.

Mr Farrow said in his letter: “As I am sure you appreciate, this has caused considerable consternation in the town.”

He said councillors wanted to know if it was ‘usual’ for a patient such as Van Marle to be allowed to visit the town and what was the criteria for deciding if it was reasonable.

Mr Farrow said councillors understood the Wellesley Hospital was built for patients with ‘low/medium mental health problems’ and wanted to know if at any point accommodation had been provided for higher level patients.

He also asked if Elysium would provide the town council with a copy of its review of the incident once it was completed.