"Cruel" Winterbourne View carers sentenced for abuse of patients
ELEVEN carers have been sentenced after admitting abusing patients with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View Hospital, near Bradley Stoke, Bristol Crown Court heard.
The home, which should have been a sanctuary, became a battleground where ill-equipped carers mimicking Nazi guards crushed residents with humiliation and brutal restraint.
Patients at the Castlebeck Ltd run business were subjected to the de-humanising “Castlebeck Way”, the court was told.
Poorly paid, inappropriately-trained staff working long shifts were left to devise their own methods of coping with people with serious learning difficulties, involving water torture, slapping, pinning down and forced feeding of medication.
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And chunks of the sorry saga were captured by an undercover reporter secretly wired for sound and vision, enabling a judge to see and hear the abuse including one defendant saying “nein, nein, nein, nein” as he appeared to slap a patient with his gloves.
Wayne Rogers, 32, of Purton Close, Bristol, attracted the toughest sentence.
Rogers, who pleaded guilty to nine charges of ill-treating Louisa Deville, Simon Tovey and Simone Blake, was jailed for two years.
His colleagues Alison Dove and Graham Doyle were sentenced to 20 months each.
Doyle, 26, of Brackendene, Bradley Stoke, had pleaded guilty to seven charges of ill-treating Miss Blake.
And Alison Dove, 25, of Chipperfield Drive, Bristol, had pleaded guilty to seven charges of ill-treating Lorraine Guildford, Louise Bissett and Miss Blake.
Their eight other colleagues were sentenced today to between four months in jail, suspended for two years, and one year in prison.
Recorder of Bristol Judge Neil Ford QC said as he sentenced them: "Many of the residents were extremely difficult to manage, and, in the absence of highly-skilled carers, were subjected to a miserable existence in which they were inappropriately restrained and punished.
"A culture of ill-treatment developed and, as is often the case, cruelty bred cruelty.
"This culture corrupted and debased, to varying degrees, these defendants, all of whom are of previous good character."
After sentencing Detective Chief Superintendent Louisa Rolfe, Head of CID with Avon and Somerset Police said: "Today, in sentencing these people, Judge Ford has recognised the inhumanity of their behaviour.
"There are no words to describe the horrific, vindictive treatment these offenders meted out to the vulnerable young adults of Winterbourne View.
"They and their loved ones should have felt safe and secure in the knowledge they were being well cared for. Instead these vulnerable young people were subjected to the most extreme and persistent abuse.
"All hate crime is abhorrent and we will not tolerate it. We will work with our safeguarding partners to address any lingering concerns about incidents that took place at Winterbourne View, and leave no stone unturned until we're satisfied that the victims and their families feel that justice has been done."
Ann Reddrop, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's South West Complex Casework Unit, said: "Every member of society has the right to live free from intimidation and fear, but the offending that took place at Winterbourne View undermined that right in an appalling and systematically brutal way. People who should have been able to trust their carers had that trust cruelly and repeatedly abused.
"Today's sentences send a clear message to those who believe there will be no consequences for their abuse of disabled people."
The other sentences were as follows:
-Michael Ezenagu, 29, of Malabar Court, India Way, London, who pleaded guilty to two counts of ill-treating Simone Blake. Sentenced to six months, suspended for two years.
-Jason Gardiner, 43, of Mellent Avenue, Bristol, who admitted two charges of ill-treating Louisa Deville and Simon Tovey. Sentenced to four months, suspended for two years.
-Danny Brake, 27, of Beechen Drive, Fishponds, who pleaded guilty to two counts of ill-treating Miss Blake and Mr Tovey. Sentenced to four months, suspended for two years.
-Sookalingum Appoo, 59, of Dial Lane, Bristol, who admitted three charges of wilfully neglecting Miss Blake. Sentenced to six months in prison.
-Holly Draper, 24, of The Old Orchard, Mangotsfield, who pleaded guilty to two charges of ill-treating Miss Blake. Sentenced to 12 months in prison.
-Charlotte Cotterell ,22, of Melrose Avenue, Yate, who pleaded guilty to one charge of ill-treating Miss Blake. Sentenced to four months, suspended for two years.
-Neil Ferguson, 28, of Emersons Green, who pleaded guilty to one count of ill-treating Miss Blake. Sentenced to six months, suspended for two years.
-Kelvin Fore, 33, of Ellesmere Walk, Middlesborough, who pleaded guilty to one charge of wilfully neglecting Miss Blake. Sentenced to six months in prison.