Leonie Fennell: Informed Consent



THE mother of student Shane Clancy, who stabbed a young man to death before taking his own life, has called for an independent inquiry into the effect anti-depressant drugs had upon her son.

Leonie Fennell explained her decision to participate in a TV3 documentary aired last night, which looked at the events surrounding the death of her son Shane and Sebastian Creane (22), who was fatally stabbed in August 2009.

After buying a set of knives, Shane had driven to Bray where he stabbed Sebastian to death. He then stabbed his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Hannigan, before stabbing Sebastian’s brother Dylan and proceeding to take his own life.

Shane’s body was found at the rear of the Creane home in Bray with a number of self-inflicted knife wounds. Shane had been depressed in the weeks before the tragedy and had been on medication. His mother has since campaigned for greater controls surrounding anti-depressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Ms Fennell said: “We decided to participate in this programme because it provided others with the opportunity to hear about the role that SSRI antidepressants played in the tragic deaths.

“This is information we wish we had known before Shane’s death and which we believe may prevent other families suffering the pain we all now live with.”

In a blog written before the programme was aired, she said: “Our over-riding feeling, from the very beginning, has been that if this can happen to Shane it could happen to anyone.”

Irish Independent


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

FRom Seroxat Sufferers

A Search for Justice – Death in Bray – Review

To write an opinion piece without offending is always going to be tricky. In the past I have wrote many articles where I have never really given any thought to my opinions hurting anyone because, in the main, I write about pharmaceutical companies, medicine regulators and psychiatrists whom I don’t really care much for.

This piece is different as it concerns a number of people who are all suffering loss, all, who I mention, in the following piece, are searching for answers. We have a bunch of people divided by opinion which makes it increasingly difficult for any of the parties to accept facts.

My opinion, it will be argued, is one of bias – I cannot refute this but can offer my reasons for sitting on one side of the fence opposed to sitting on the other side or, indeed, sitting on the actual fence.

Last night TV3, an Irish network channel, aired a 90 minute special that covered the death of 22 year-old Sebastian Creane. The documentary, ‘A Search for Justice – Death in Bray’, has, if anything, raised some questions that need answering.

Before I go on I would just like to stipulate that I did not know Sebastian Creane nor Shane Clancy. I have, since this tragic incident, met with Shane Clancy’s mother, partner and family on numerous occasions and they, like other families I have met and wrote about, have become good friends.

So, many may think that my bias will originate from this friendship. I can state clearly that this is not the case.

It was my father who, many years ago, said to me, “Always write about the things you know about”, which is something that I have tried to do. As a writer my job is similar to the programme-makers of ‘A Search for Justice – Death in Bray’ in as much that I wish to raise certain concerns and my ultimate wish is that those concerns are debated.

Watching the documentary was difficult as many people have been affected by the tragedy it covered, none more so than the parents of Sebastian Creane and Shane Clancy.

Sebastian Creane, 22, was stabbed to death on August 16, 2009, by Shane Clancy, 22, who then killed himself at the Creane family home in Bray. A subsequent inquest into the alleged suicide of Clancy resulted in a coroner’s decision, based on evidence given, of an “open verdict”.

This, it seemed, was the basis of ‘A Search for Justice – Death in Bray’.

Sebastian Creane parents, Nuala and Jay, were not happy with the outcome of the Shane Clancy inquest and both they and friends of Sebastian took umbrage to Leonie and her partner, Tony, appearing on The Late Late Show [RTE] some 6 weeks after the tragic incident.

If I were a neutral watching ‘A Search for Justice – Death in Bray’ I would have been of the opinion that Shane Clancy was a crazed young man who killed his former girlfriend’s lover and then, after realisation of his actions, decided to take his own life rather than face the consequences of those actions. I believe the documentary, although compelling, didn’t really delve into the evidence of antidepressant homicide/suicide.

I have been writing and researching about the side-effects of SSRi medications for almost nine years now and this case is not too dissimilar to other cases of bizarre beahviour from those who have ingested these powerful group of drugs.

Homicide Vs Suicide – What is the difference?

Homicide is the act of killing another.

Suicide is the act of killing oneself.

So, why did the coroner in Shane Clancy’s inquest deliver an “open verdict”?

Well, based upon all evidences provided to the inquest it could not be deemed that Shane Clancy knew that he was killing himself [suicide]. The reasons why he never knew this have never been elaborated on [officially].

If Shane never knew he was about to kill himself then did he know that he was carrying out an act of homicide when he killed Sebastian?

This, of course, was never answered. Shane’s inquest was not about finding fault or laying the finger of blame, it was, as all inquests are, about preventing any future deaths in the manner of how Shane Clancy died.

A very important issue was raised in the documentary. If Shane had not killed himself after killing Sebastian [and attacking others] then he would have been tried and [more than likely] convicted. I say more than likely because it is very rare for accused killers or criminals to be acquitted by using induced psychosis as a result of medication being taken. Rare but not unheard of.

In February 24, 2000 Connecticut Superior Court Judge J. Arnold acquitted Christopher DeAngelo of first-degree robbery on the grounds that the defendant lacked substantial capacity as a result of mental disease or defect. The judge specifically attributed Mr. DeAngelo’s impaired state to his prescribed Xanax and Prozac.[1]

David Crespi plead guilty to brutally stabbing his five-year-old twin daughters to death, but there is one person that still believes he’s innocent: their mother.

Kimberly Crespi has fought for her husband from the beginning, forgiving him for his horrific crime in 2006 and now she wants to share their story with the world.

Mrs Crespi believes Crespi killed their girls because he was misdiagnosed with a personality disorder and put on a cocktail of drugs which in turn, caused a psychotic episode. [2]

Clinical psychologist, Dr. David Antonuccio, was one of multiple doctors who gave Charles Baymiller a mental evaluation. He said that she was displaying negative drug side effects prior to the killing such as agitation and sleep deprivation and had visited her doctor to address them. Instead, a nurse practitioner increased her dosages. He said that was not an appropriate adjustment. Antonuccio said that within weeks, the drugs could have caused her to be in a drug-induced state, where she would be in a “fog-like, sleepwalking” state and later have no memory of her actions. He said the known side effects of Paxil are irritability, aggessiveness and suicidal tendencies.” [3]

Probably the most infamous of all is the case of Donald Schell. Here’s the verdict of the jury [Fig 1]

These are just four incidents, there are many more if one researches.

Irish psychiatrist, Patricia Casey, who appeared in the TV3 special, claimed that there is no evidence to suggest that the SSRi group of drugs can cause homicide. Some of the instances above, may be debated but, nonetheless, they show evidence that Casey claims does not exist.

Back in 2011 Lawyers representing Patricia Casey wrote to the mother of Shane Clancy. Casey took umbrage to a blog post and subsequent comments that appeared on the Leonie Fennell blog. Fennell was, in essence, told to remove the comments or face being sued by Casey. Back stories here and here.

Casey was interviewed and appeared in the 90 minute special last night, she made assertions that Shane Clancy had a “psychiatric illness” and did not believe his actions were due to citalopram he was taking. [Whilst alive Shane was seen by three professionals, none of whom diagnosed him with a psychiatric illness]

From what I can gather, Casey has based her diagnosis around reading documents from the case and reviewing CCTV footage of Shane Clancy on the night of the tragedy. She is, like many in this case, offering her own opinion. Casey, and her supporters, will argue that she is in a position to offer such evidence because she is a professional psychiatrist. End of the day Casey has offered an opinion that cannot be backed up with any scientific facts. She cannot prove, one way or the other, that her diagnosis of Shane Clancy is correct.

Casey also touched upon her links to the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck in last night’s documentary. Lundbeck manufacture the antidepressant that Shane Clancy was prescribed.

Shane’s mother, Leonie Fennell, had, back in 2011, highlighted a possible conflict of interest between Casey and Lundbeck [here]

Not only does Casey not believe that citalopram may have been the cause of Shane Clancy’s out of character behaviour, she also believes that antidepressants do not cause suicide. [4] Something that, I believe, is an appalling and dangerous statement given the warnings placed on the packets of SSRi’s such as citalopram.

The family and friends of Sebastian Creane and Shane Clancy will always have to deal with their loss, it will never go away. Both parties will also battle with the many unanswered questions. All parties concerned will try to seek justice. On one side of the fence we have those that refuse to believe the evidence that SSRi medications can cause homicide and suicide – on the other we have parents who refuse to believe that their son could commit such a heinous crime.

On a personal front, and to add some weight to my argument, I became suicidal when withdrawing from another SSRi, namely GSK’s Seroxat. I also became aggressive and, totally out of character, went out one night seeking confrontation. The area I chose was a country park in Birmingham. I wanted violence and I didn’t much care about the consequences of my actions if I would have had my thirst for violence quenched. [5] Luckily, there was nobody walking through the darkened country park during the early hours of that particular morning. Had they have been then I, myself, may have been the subject of much debate and maybe Casey, or any other psychiatrist for that matter, may have been convinced that I had a chemical imbalance in my brain that made me mentally ill.

In truth, I was prescribed Seroxat for “work-related stress”

Shane Clancy was prescribed citalopram because he was dealing with matters of the heart, a relationship split with his girlfriend.

I don’t think for one minute that either of us were mentally ill.

Airing a documentary on such a subject was a brave move by TV3. It was very brave of Leonie Fennell, Nuala, Jay and Dylan Creane and Jennifer Hannigan to appear in front of TV camera’s, by doing so they have people talking, writing, debating, insinuating. No statements, as far as I am aware were given to the programme-makers by H. Lundbeck A/S. I find this quite astonishing given that in one of their own citalopram studies 14 patients taking citalopram attempted suicide or reported suicidal ideation compared with 5 patients taking placebo,” [6]

As always, my thoughts are with both parties here. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to lose a child, particularly in such circumstances. I sincerely hope that one day the truth will out and that those left to pick up the pieces will one day be able to embrace that truth and find the minutest bit of comfort from it.

Bob Fiddaman.

[1] Court Finds Prozac and Xanax Cause Criminal Conduct

[2] Mother forgives husband for stabbing their twin daughters to death while driven crazy by Prozac and is fighting to have him freed from jail

[3] Judge gives woman probation in Incline Village husband’s slaying after children request it

[4] “Antidepressants Do Not Cause Suicide” – Patricia Casey [VIDEO EVIDENCE]

[5] The Evidence, However, Is Clear, The Seroxat Scandal [Paperback]

[6] Forest Under Fire


In Defense of Shane Clancy: “A Search for Justice: Death in Bray” (TV3 Ireland Documentary airing on Monday, March 10th 2014)

Before I begin this blog post, I would like to offer my  sincere condolences to all those affected by this, the loss must be unimaginable, for Sebastian Creane, his family, and to Jennifer Hannigan and her family, and of course to Leonie, for Shane, and Shane’s family. Many people have suffered in this. Many people have been affected. This is a terrible tragedy which is difficult for many to comprehend, and understandably so.

   However, I sincerely believe that this tragedy would not have happened had Shane, or his family, been warned of the potential side effects of SSRI drugs. SSRI side effects such as Akathisa, agitation, anxiety, aggression, impulsivity, homicidal and suicidal ideation, are commonly reported from patients on SSRI’s. They are even written in the Patient information leaflets now (although that’s more to cover drug companies from lawsuits than a humane act on their part, and also hardly anyone looks at the PIL, particularly young people, therefore it’s close to useless).

   I have had these side effects whilst on SSRI’s and I have talked to many others who have experienced them also. There is a massive culture of denial within mainstream psychiatry because it is a pandora’s box which- if opened- would destroy the credibility of psychiatric drugs. If psychiatric drugs are perceived as unsafe then this undermines psychiatry. The industry and psychiatry have a vested interest in keeping the public in the dark about this. I don’t just think this, it’s a fact, and it is well known by those of us involved in bringing the truth about these drugs to public consciousness.

   These facts cannot bring back a loved one, but they are significant for trying to understand why tragedies like this occur. One brilliant website which has documented SSRI murder/suicides is AntiDepAware. What has been correlated here on this site is quite staggering, and in my opinion the evidence is irrefutable now. Shane’s case, is one of many, and anyone on an SSRI could end up in a similar situation, and the real tragedy is- the public are mostly completely unaware. These tragedies could have been avoided if people were adequately warned, but the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatry do not want to be held accountable, therefore they continue to deny. Furthermore, the profits on these drugs are obscene, and profit and money is the bottom line here.

On Monday the 10th of March, Irish channel TV3, will air a documentary about the Shane Clancy tragedy called: “A search for justice: death in Bray. I wrote about Shane when this tragic event happened (see here and here) and it might seem premature writing a post before this documentary airs but I feel before the media spin kicks in, it is appropriate, as many important aspects might get lost in the sensationalism which will inevitably follow.

   The reason why I first wrote about Shane, and why I care about all this- is because -like Shane, I was prescribed an SSRI drug for depression (mine was Seroxat, Shane’s was Cipramil). I was also around Shane’s age when this happened. I was 21, and Shane was 22. It was also, like in Shane’s case- my mother who brought me to a psychiatrist and a GP initially- because she was desperate to help alleviate the sheer despair I was experiencing from crippling depression. Shane’s mother Leonie, did the same thing as my mother, (as any mother would) and like myself and my mother, Leonie and Shane were not warned of the possible dangerous side effects from SSRI drugs. Effectively, there was no informed consent. None of us were warned. This is appalling.

   I will never forget the awful feeling in the first few days and weeks of taking Seroxat. I remember the swooshing, dizzying, giddy- unreality buzzing in my mind, as the chemical began to course through the blood into my brain. I went from being severely depressed, to severely out of my head. I would get these rushes and shivers, my eyes would roll and the world felt all lopsided. My teeth would clench, my jaw muscles would clench, and I’d get audio hallucinations during the day, and Stephen King style nightmares and sweats at night. If I stood up too quickly I would almost faint as my blood pressure was affected from the SSRI. I would stupor, and my eyes were like pinholes, I looked like a junkie. I would dribble on myself, as I sat numbed like a vegetable watching day time TV- as the levels of Seroxat accumulated, I felt more and more careless, more and more distant from me, my family and my surroundings. I became completely de-personalized.

   It was undoubtedly a drugged up state, but not the kind of drugged up state which you would imagine these so called ‘happy pills’ to be. There was no happy-ness, no bliss, just a feeling of numbness, inhibition, blur and muddled confusion. A buzzy blur, an incoherency of thoughts and feelings all day, everything just out of whack and out of sync. As the weeks and months went on, and the Seroxat pills went down, I began to feel aggressive, particularly towards my family, I would snap at them and often they were afraid of me, or afraid of what the drug was doing to me, what I was becoming. The night sweats and nightmares turned into night spasms and horrifically violent dreams which scared the hell out me. I would wake up terrified, horrified that my mind could conjure up scenes of such horrible violence and mayhem. On a few occasions in the first few months on Seroxat I lashed out at my mother and my sister, and at one point I chased my father around his house, with every intention of attacking him. He rang the police and I left, like a possessed madman, slamming his door and shattering the glass. This aggression was completely and utterly out of character for me, I am the most passive, non confrontational person in the world. I have no doubt it was the effects of the SSRI. No doubts at all. SSRI’s can push some people over the edge. The creators of this website (SSRI stories) have collected 5000 media examples of SSRI suicides, homicides, rage etc. That, is likely- the tip of the iceberg.

   Since coming off Seroxat over 10 years ago, I have sought to inform and educate others and make them aware of the dangers of SSRI medications. I have spoken to others who have experienced the same effects. I have met government ministers, journalists, psychiatrists, educators, activists, the gamut of professions. I have tried my best to get the truth out there about Seroxat and SSRI’s. These drugs can be very dangerous for some people. It’s like Russian roulette- nobody knows how severe the side effects will be. The drug companies lie, the psychiatrists deceive, there are vested interests hell bent on keeping the extent of the damage of these drugs hidden and obscured. Depression does not make people violent or volatile, but SSRI’s can induce these affects in those who take them- it is only since the advent of the SSRI anti-depressant age that we have witnessed so many cases like the Clancy case. This is not fiction, conspiracy theories or random accounts, these are documented cases. These are facts.

   I hope that this documentary gives a fair and objective account of SSRI dangers, but I have a feeling that the drug companies and psychiatry will do everything in their power to defend the drugs and blame Shane. Psychiatry always blames the patient, and psychiatry is the pharmaceutical industry’s apologist. That’s a well known fact. Psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry are two branches of the same tree, intertwined

I look forward to blogging more after the documentary is aired. But for now I will leave these videos here about SSRI’s, violence, volatility, and disturbing side effects, they are essential viewing. (there are hundreds more on youtube)

Antidepressant Side Effects