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martedì 30 maggio 2017

Horror Hospital: Derbyshire's biggest child abuse scandal

More than 100 victims of horrific experiments and abuse at a Derbyshire hospital have now come forward - making it the county's biggest-ever probe into crimes against children.

Police are investigating the actions of controversial medic Dr Kenneth Milner at Aston Hall Hospital in the 1960s and 70s, where he is accused of pumping vulnerable youngsters with drugs to correct "deviant" behaviour.
Allegations about his actions were first highlighted by the Derby Telegraph in an investigation. Police have written to victims to say they have identified 58 crimes.
Now, we can reveal 105 people have contacted the police to claim they were abused. Expert lawyers representing them say this is the biggest case they have come across in Derbyshire.


And one of the country's leading abuse lawyers says it is one of the biggest abuse scandals he has come across in a mental health institution.


Dianne Collins, of Nelsons Solicitors in Lodge Lane, Derby, represents around 30 people.
She said: "I have never come across a case like this before, it's the biggest we've ever done or are aware of in terms of people coming forward.
"And I think this is just the tip of the iceberg, there will be a lot of other people out there who have not come forward or who might have died which is very sad because they will not be able to get justice.
"One hundred and five is a very high number and I suspect the national coverage this story has received would have meant more people coming forward."

Richard Scorer, who has been described as one of Britain's leading specialists in the field of abuse law, said the Aston Hall case was "major".
Mr Scorer, who works at legal firm Slater and Gordon, said: "This is highly serious and one of the biggest abuse scandals in a mental health institution. It's is very substantial.
"It looks like Dr Milner had a complete liberty to abuse and it appears there were no safeguarding procedures in place to stop that happening. I have represented 168 victims of Jimmy Savile but that was across various institutions but this is just one.
"Somebody like this would have had a lot of power over very vulnerable victims, especially because this was in a mental health setting. They could not leave and anything they said against him would not be believed."
Mr Scorer said they would have been seen as "unreliable".
Stephen Edwards from Liverpool-based Been Let Down, is representing numerous victims. He said in his career he had never worked on a case with so many people claiming abuse.
He said: "I've never come across or worked on anything on this magnitude before. This is a very unusual case and I imagine there are a lot more than the 105 who have contacted the police. I am aware of people who have for whatever reason not wanted to go to the police or me as a lawyer. I think it's a positive thing that so many have contacted the police."
Dr Milner is accused of restraining young patients and pumping them with drugs and then making them relive past experiences. Some victims claim he sexually abused them.
A letter sent to victims last month by Derbyshire police said they were in the process of recording crime types in relation to the accounts given. It said once all accounts are obtained it would prepare a report for consideration of the Crown Prosecution Service.

The letter says the police are confident there are sufficient resources for the investigation to continue and more people are contacting them making claims against Dr Milner.
Dr Milner died in 1976. Numerous allega victims are claiming compensation from the Department for Health for what they say happened to them.
An obituary in the British Medical Journal on January 31, 1976, stated Dr Milner was born on June 26, 1909, and educated at Wakefield Grammar School and Leeds University, graduating with honours in 1933. He gained his medical doctorate there in 1939.
Derbyshire police have issued some helplines for anyone in need. They said, for immediate help and support, people should call the Samaritans on 116 123.
Within office hours, people can telephone health workers Andrew Rayner or Liz Holmes on 01332 623700, ext 31537. If people require support for their mental health outside of normal office hours, they should contact their out-of-hours health service.



The 58 allegations include claims the psychiatrist and hospital chief superintendent injected children with truth serum sodium amytal before sexually abusing them.
Dozens have also said Milner, who worked at Broadmoor before going to Aston Hall between 1947 and 1975, was trying to “normalise” naughty children.
He died in 1976 just one year after he left the institution.
Police launched Operation Hydrant with health and social workers to investigate the abuse claims.
David Martin says he was “experimented on” twice by Dr Milner at Aston Hall while aged just 12 and 13 – including on his first day at the hospital.
The dad-of-five said: “I was kicking and screaming on my way to Aston Hall. I remember being with some people from social services.
“When I was there, I was grabbed and put in a cell. That night Dr Milner and two nurses came into the cell.
“He gave me an injection and put a mask on me when I was tied down. He then gave me ether. But after that I don’t remember what happened. It made me go to sleep.
“I was experimented on while I was asleep. It happened to me twice and it was wrong.
“Once you’re in a place like that and things happen, it’s sick. It stays on your mind and people have wrongly labelled me in life because I stayed there.”
The 55-year-old said the abuse has stayed with him “for years”, and that he is relieved the police had racked up so many crimes against Milner.
Another victim, Trevor Bell, 62, says he was forced to take drugs when he was 13 after Milner labelled him an “uncontrollable child”.
He said: “I met Dr Milner on my second day and he explained about my treatment.
He called it narco analysis but it was sodium amytal. They stripped me, put me in a padded room, everything was white.
“They gave me an injection, then put a pad over my face, covering everything except my nose. And then he poured ether on my face.
“They said they wanted to find out where things had gone wrong when I was a kid, why I was misbehaving. I was 13 years old. I didn’t understand a thing.”
Trevor is now working with a lawyer to get his medical records.
Sodium amytal is a strong barbiturate described as a “truth serum” because it makes the recipient lose all inhibitions. Dozens of former patients have made allegations of sexual abuse.
Amanda Solloway, MP for Derby North, who raised the issue in Parliament, said: “I think it’s very important that this has come in the public domain and the update from the police shows that anybody who was ever abused at any point in their life should feel confident to come forward because it will be taken seriously.
“Crimes have been identified and that is positive. I want to thank the police as well. This is an ongoing investigation that has been detailed and shows they are taking this seriously.”



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