Police say a former doctor who was head physician at a Derbyshire hospital for vulnerable children would have been interviewed over allegations of sexual and physical abuse had he still been alive today.
It is a significant extremely important conclusion for more than 100 former patients who have come forward over the past seven years to allege that they suffered abuse at Aston Hall Hospital in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
A police investigation has now concluded there was sufficient evidence which would have justified interviewing him under caution.
These findings can only be supportive of cases being made for compensation from the Department of Health – or perhaps even through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) – which is another possible route for claimants.
Allegations included sexual abuse, rape and use of restraining drugs
Dr Kenneth Milner, who ran Aston Hall psychiatric hospital in Derbyshire from 1947 to the 1970s, died in 1975, well before any allegations of wrongdoing were made.
The home, which opened in the 1920s and could cater for about 100 children of both sexes deemed to have mental health problems, closed also in the 1990s.
Since 2011 it has been alleged Milner restrained young patients and injected them with drugs whilst making them relive past experiences, He has also been accused of sexually and physically abusing children, and rape.
One woman alleges she was injected, gassed and woke up feeling sore between her legs while at the hospital whilst one man who has spoken in the media has told of waking up to find his hands tied and marks on his body.
The police report, from an investigation said to be the biggest ever into alleged crimes against children said there were ‘consistent allegations of drugs being given to restrained children, with limited or no records being taken.’
Findings are significant give scale of investigation and consistency of allegations
Although the Derbyshire force has said that no further inference should be made other than the fact that Milner would have been questioned had he been alive today, their findings are hugely significant with regards to compensation cases being pursued.
Given police collated 115 witness statements, recorded 77 crimes and heard from 65 alleged victims, the fact they have gathered ‘sufficient evidence’ – which police have confirmed would have seen him questioned on caution with regard to rape, indecent assault, child cruelty and assault, is highly significant with regard to civil claims.
At Hudgell Solicitors, our specialist abuse claims lawyers know that it can take child abuse survivors a long time to come forward, and for many, having suffered what some have described as ‘pure hell’, launching a legal case may have seemed a battle too far to face.
However, one alleged victim has described the police report and findings as ‘giving recognition to what happened to her and others at the hospital’.
I would certainly agree.
As a law firm which successfully represents many victims of physical and sexual child abuse, we have vast experience of supporting survivors of historic abuse in cases where there has been no criminal conviction of the accused.
Police have said the length of time which has passed since the alleged crimes had proven a major issue in their investigations, so much so that they have been unable to find out whether some members of staff were still alive.
Hopefully though, these findings will help the many people who were at the hospital as children, and those who did suffer will be able to claim the compensation they deserve.