An inquiry into two care homes in Devon for adults with learning difficulties has found that residents at Vielstone and Gatooma were routinely punished. Thirteen people have been convicted as part of the inquiry.
The inquiry found that that the residents at Vielstone were held in the rooms known as the “garden room” or the “quiet room,” without heating, food or a toilet. They were often locked in the rooms overnight. There were more than 1,000 incidents where the residents were left in the rooms without any furniture or a television. The abuse was “organised and systemic.”
Jolyon Marshall who was the manager of Vielstone at the time of the abuse was jailed for 28 months. Twelve other staff members were also convicted at Bristol Crown Court. One of these included Marshall’s wife.
Prosecutor Andrew Langdon QC said, “Staff tried to correct residents’ behaviour as if they would train an animal. It was not a one-off but organised and systemic abuse of people with learning disabilities – vulnerable members of society who were residents in homes that were meant to care for them.”
One of the victims spent 195 sessions in the “quiet room”, including 13 overnight stays.
Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission said that, “No-one should be subject to the degrading abuse people experienced and I am glad that the perpetrators have been recognised for the criminals they are.” She welcomed the sentences and further stated that, “The end of these trials is a chilling reminder that we must all remain vigilant and support and protect people in vulnerable circumstances who have every right to live their lives to the full, free from fear and treated with dignity and respect.”
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