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Improved risk assessment has been stressed as the way to reduce homicides by people with mental illness. The feasibility of predicting rare events needs examining. Aims To examine the findings of public inquiries into homicides by people with mental illness to see if they support the claim that better risk assessment would have averted the tragedy. Method Analysis was made of the findings of the public inquiries between 1988 and 1997 in relation to the predictability and preventability of thedoi:10.1192/bjp.176.2.116 pmid:10755046 fatcat:ywo5ee7gx5asniiwc3xrbn6quu