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Learning disability charity: abuse went unreported for too long

Learning disability charity Mencap has responded to the sentencing of two care assistants, who have been jailed for the mistreatment of severely disabled patients in their care at the Solar Centre in Doncaster.

“The sentences handed down today mark the end of a 6-year fight for justice by the victims and their families, exposing shocking abuse of people with a learning disability.

However, this case raises serious questions about why the abuse went unreported for so long, and why it was so delayed in coming to court. Lessons must be learnt from this and all agencies involved need to address what went wrong to make sure vulnerable people are not let down again.

Too often, hate crime and abuse against people with a learning disability goes unreported or ignored and never makes it to court. This case, and the sentencing of the eleven care workers at Winterbourne View last year, shows that society will not tolerate these crimes and that abusers will be brought to justice.”

– Maggie Graham, Mencap

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Care abuse pair were stabbed in 'vigilant attack'

The court heard Murphy, who is a mother and grandmother, and Hinds, who is a former miner, had been a couple for seven years and had had to endure a campaign of vigilante action against them.

The judge was told that masked raiders had broken into Hinds's house, bludgeoned him across the head and stabbed him in the ribs.

Murphy was also stabbed, her barrister told the court, and the pair had to flee from Doncaster to Spain.

Earlier, Iain Hillis, defending Hinds, said his client had worked at the centre since 1997 and said he had always tried to protect more vulnerable staff members from more violent patients. He said Hinds had spent years caring for his patients.

"He was working under very difficult circumstances," Mr Hillis said.

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Jailed care assistant used 'heartless violence'

Judge Rosalind Coe told Hinds he had used "heartless, unkind and unacceptable violence".

You used violence, rough treatment, intimidation to frighten and control service users so they were less likely to display challenging behaviour in your presence.

Your bullying and intimidation to other staff members enabled you to carry on over a long period of time.

She said the victims in the case were severely disabled and in no position to defend themselves.

"It is hard to imagine more vulnerable people," Judge Coe said. "They were all dependent on you."

The judge said she read many impact statement from relatives of the victims. She said each spoke of devastation and breach of trust.

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Care assistants' victims were extremely vulnerable adults

Two care assistants who have been jailed for more than two years were found guilty of of the ill-treatment of extremely vulnerable adults, with limited communication abilities and a range of physical disabilities including blindness.

All the incidents of abuse by James Hinds, and Susan Murphy happened in a period between January 2005 and March 2007.

Hinds was convicted of 10 charges and acquitted of a further nine after the jury of five men and seven women deliberated for two days.

Murphy was found guilty of 15 charges and was cleared of a further five.

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Care assistants jailed for ill-treatment of patients

Two care assistants who mis-treated severely disabled patients have each been jailed for two years and nine months.

A judge told James Hinds, 59, and Susan Murphy, 43: "It is impossible to assess the upset, distress and bewilderment your actions caused."

James Hinds and Susan Murphy outside Sheffield Crown Court. Credit: Dave Higgens/PA Wire

Hinds and Murphy were found guilty of a total of 25 counts of ill-treating outpatients at the Solar Centre, at St Catherine's Hospital in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court earlier this year.

They were found guilty of ill-treating 12 different outpatients between them.

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NHS Trust apologised for actions of care abuse pair

The executive medical director for Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust apologised to families victims of abuse after two care workers were convicted.

Dr Nav Ahluwalia said: "We apologise again today for the actions of the individuals that have been found guilty".

Susan Murphy and James Hinds were found guilty of a total of 25 counts of ill-treating outpatients.

"The trust has implemented improvements to the learning disability service at this centre to minimise the risks of such incidents happening again", he added.

Susan Murphy and James Hinds will be sentenced today after being found guilty of abusing 12 patients at the Solar Centre in the 17 May.

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Mother speaks about daughter's abuse at care unit

The mother of a victim of abuse at the Solar Centre in Doncaster spoke to ITV Calender about the impact on her daughter.

James Hinds and Susan Murphy were found guilty of systematically ill-treating 12 severely disabled patients at the mental health unit in South Yorkshire.

Sandra Mountain said the abuse left her daughter traumatised.
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