Social worker who was stabbed six times by patient gets whopping out-of-court settlement

Claire Selwood
Claire Selwood

A SOCIAL worker who almost bled to death after being stabbed by a psychiatric patient has won a six-figure out-of-court settlement.

Claire Selwood has broken her seven-year silence after Graham Burton, now 47, stabbed the mum-of-three in the back six times at a County Durham school, just days before threatening to kill her when speaking to nurses at Cherry Knowle hospital in Sunderland.

The settlement comes after legal professionals argued two NHS trusts had not shown duty of care towards her.

The 44-year-old, who lived in Chester-le-Street at the time of the attack, but now lives in Northumberland, has highlighted the dangers faced by social workers and is calling for more to be done to protect people in her line of work.

Claire, who was working for Durham County Council at the time and has been left with physical and mental difficulties, including post traumatic stress disorder, said: “I really feel the public should know more about how dangerous the job is.

“There just isn’t the support.

“What happened to me is the extreme I know, but there are still a lot of social workers as a result of doing their daily jobs, confronted with mental health issues, who understandably find it difficult to deal with their job.”

She said by speaking out she hoped for closure.

A spokesperson for the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trusts said: “We are pleased for Ms Selwood that her claim has now been resolved. Mental health services have changed considerably since this appalling attack. Both organisations have made improvements to the way they work and acted promptly to implement the recommendations of an independent investigation into the incident in 2010.” Durham County Council would not comment.