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Man gets life for killing care worker with fire extinguisher

CARING: Jenny Foote

THE MAN who bludgeoned care worker Jenny Foote to death with a fire extinguisher has been sentenced to life in prison.

Michael Meanza, 47, attacked the 38-year-old after she asked him to turn down the television at the Collette House hostel in west London last year.

Ms Foote's family has criticised the circumstances leading up to her death and the risks she had been exposed to.

Speaking outside the court, Ms Foote’s brother Michael said “it was quite clear lessons need to be learned” at at the Collette House hostel where she worked.

“They knew what he was capable of and we also know from the evidence which was given he knew how to play the system,” he said.

Meanza has 16 previous convictions for 79 offences including attacking a member of hospital staff and an assault on a female patient on a psychiatric ward, according to The Evening Standard.

Foote was attacked in her office at the hostel, believed to be a support centre for people with mental health disabilities.

The two became embroiled in a confrontation when the worker cautioned Meanza over the sound disturbing other residents and apparently threatened to have him kicked out of the hostel.

Describing the incident, Meanza told his trial: “She said, ‘you won’t be able to see your girlfriend now, you will be evicted’.

“I pushed her on the floor, I turned around and the fire extinguisher was there and I started to use it.”

When he was arrested, he told officers: “I know I’m guilty”.

He added: "I have some regrets in my life but then again, too few to list.”

He was first admitted for psychiatric treatment in 1990 and was made the subject of two hospital orders during that decade.

He was released into the community in 2001 but recalled to hospital in 2009 and again in December 2013 after threatening to kill his psychiatrist and a psychiatric nurse.


LIFE IN PRISON: Michael Meanza

Meanza was then freed in April last year after a mental health tribunal panel deemed him well enough to be conditionally discharged.

Three months later he would murder the “loving” care worker who “always saw the good in people.”

He denied having anger management issues and insisted he had developed techniques to manage his temper, which included listening to The Beatles.

As he was led away to the cells, Meanza shouted: "God is my judge. Put me down. Eternal damnation is yours."

Presiding Judge John Bevan QC branded Meanza an “ongoing danger” to the public and warned that the parole board would have to think “long and hard” before considering him for release once his sentence has been served.

Bernard Richmond QC, defending, said: "It would be easy to demonise Mr Meanza and label him as Mr Angry. That would be too simplistic.

"Whether Collette House was the appropriate place for a man with his difficulties is a question others will have to ask themselves.

"The reality was a woman who should not have had to deal with a man like Mr Meanza alone was in a position where she had to do just that."

Speaking about his sister, Michael Foot, a retired policeman, said his family were “very pleased” with the verdict, and added: “In my 30 years as a police officer, investigating a number of homicides, I have never been fully prepared for a situation like this and it is tragic that someone who is working in the health care profession should be put in such a difficult position. It could have been anybody.

"She was beautiful, very caring, very loving.

"She was an inspiration to us as the first of six children who obtained a university degree, and that kindness that she had was rewarded in providing support for other people less fortunate than ourselves."

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