Former University boss sentenced

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Following the attempted suffocation of a young boy, the former postgraduate manager at Lancaster University Management School has recently received a hospital order.

Kerry Fenton, 44, had attempted to commit suicide on July 29, 2014. After taking tablets, she then attempted to suffocate a six year old boy with a pillow. A second attempt to strangle the primary-school aged child was made in February 2015.

According to reports the child involved described Fenton as “being a bit weird and sort of acting like a monster.”

After the incident occurred Fenton was suspended from her role as Postgraduate Operations Manager at Lancaster University Management School after working there for eight years.

Further investigation revealed that she was experiencing marital problems, severe depression and anxiety with psychotic symptoms.

Kim Hollis, defending, added that Fenton had experienced two years of workplace bullying by a colleague.  Hollis mentioned that, “In relation to both offences she [Fenton] always accepted full responsibility” and continued to say that “these offences were […] out of character, she is a lady of exemplary character.”

Frances McEntee, prosecuting, said that “there is no doubt that these offences were committed not simply whilst the defendant was ill but because she was ill.”

“Had it not been for the defendant’s illness it’s the position these offences would not have been committed, albeit this defendant has acted wilfully.”

Fenton held degrees in French and History and a Masters in Business Administration. She studied across two universities (Keele and the University of Central Lancashire) and held various roles in UCLAN before moving to Lancaster University as GMS Administrator in 2003. In November 2006, she was given the position of Postgraduate Operations Manager.

The charity Rethink Mental Illness describes the process of receiving a hospital order on their website: “a hospital order, which is an alternative to a prison sentence […] means you will be sent to hospital instead of prison […] you will stay in a secure hospital.”

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