Parent’s anger as abusive health staff avoid court

A STEPFATHER whose mentally disabled son was abused in a hospital unit has slammed the decision not to take the health workers responsible to court.

Frustrated Adrian Milnes, 46, is demanding a change in the law after his stepson Richie, 31, who has profound learning disabilities, was assaulted by staff at the Solar Centre.

Prosecutors have announced they believe there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against the perpetrators.

It is the latest blow for parents after a four year battle for justice.

Last year the Free Press exclusively revealed a confidential NHS report found four members of staff at the unit, based at St Catherine’s Hospital in Balby, had attacked patients between 2004 and 2007.

Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health Trust (RDaSH) launched a probe into claims staff hit, threatened and humiliated patients, withheld food and drink, and drove patients to well-known sex spots for their amusement. Health bosses concluded that some of abuse happened and has paid compensation to two victims.

Mr Milnes, of Avoca Avenue, Intake, believes Richie has been discriminated aginst because of his condition.

He said: “The words horrified, disgusted and frustrated are all applicable to the way I feel after hearing the decision.

“We have a legal system that cannot do anything about the abuse - purely because the people who were abused cannot speak.

“If a normal person had been abused in the same way and could make a statement in court then, it wouldn’t be dismissed because of insufficient evidence.”

Police conducted a full review into the allegations in 2007 but the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed with false imprisonment and assault charges against the four workers.

Following pressure from parents and the Free Press, officers reopened the case in January and considered whether charges could be brought under the Mental Health Act. However, the CPS has announced that the case would go no further.

A statement said: “We are aware the investigation conducted by RDaSH found abuse had taken place.

“In a criminal case the evidence must provide a realistic prospect of conviction and allow a jury to be sure the defendants have committed the offence.

“We recognise this has been a difficult time for the victims and their families. Whilst we know this is not the decision they hoped for, the CPS must ensure all decisions are based on the evidence available.”