Three people charged with offences at Penzance day centre

Sign and exterior view
John Daniel Centre in Penzance Photo: ITV News

Three members of staff at a Cornwall day centre for vulnerable adults have been charged with ill-treating and wilfully neglecting patients following allegations of abuse.

The staff worked at the John Daniel Day Care Centre in Heamoor, Penzance, which is used by about 85 people with learning disabilities.

Police said they have charged two men and a woman with ill-treating and wilfully neglecting a person without capacity, covering a period from April 2007 through to December 2011.

Concerns were raised about the treatment of patients at the centre in December 2011 and Cornwall Council immediately began an investigation. A number of staff were suspended and in April last year police arrested five people. Those charged are:

  • Benjamin Alan Jenkins, 22, from St Ives, has been charged with two counts of a carer ill-treating and wilfully neglecting a person without capacity contrary to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
  • Philip Anthony John Sowden, 59, from Penzance, has been charged with two counts of the same offence.
  • Christine Maureen Keller, 57 from Hayle, has been charged with one count of the offence.

Two other people have been released from police bail with no further action.

Cornwall Council is aware that the police have today charged three people on various counts of a carer ill-treating and wilfully neglecting a person without capacity, contrary to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, following their arrest in April 2012. This related to concerns which were raised about practices at the John Daniel Centre, a day service for people with a learning disability, in Penzance, in November 2011. Cornwall Council has been helping the police with its inquiries, as part of the multi-agency safeguarding process, and we await the outcome of the court case.

– Statement from Cornwall Council