Aston Hall was a psychiatric hospital in Derbyshire between the 1920’s to the 1990’s. It was run by Dr Kenneth Milner from 1947 to 1970. It was a hospital for people who “were deemed to have mental health problems.” The patients were children and adults of both sexes and there would be approximately 100 patients at the hospital at anyone time.

Allegations about Aston Hall first came to light in 2011. The allegations concerned the use of sodium amytal which is used as a way of recovering repressed traumatic memories. It has the effect of rendering the patient semi conscious and unable to move.

In July 2014 a male made a complaint of a sexual assault to Derbyshire Police and this was followed by another complaint of abuse in the September. In July 2015 a female made a report that she was, “injected, gassed and woke up feeling sore between her legs.”

In February 2016 Derbyshire Police with the support of Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board started an investigation into the hospital. The Police “prepared 115 witness statements, recorded 77 crimes and heard from 65 alleged victims.”

They have released a report on the conclusion of their investigation today. The report confirms that they have found, “allegations children were drugged to a zombie like state, stripped and abused.” The evidence they obtained showed, “consistent allegations of drugs being given to restrained children.”

The report has detailed that;

”children were told they were to undergo treatment for their condition. The treatment consisted of being stripped naked before being injected with sodium pentothal and sodium amytal.”

Dr Milner who died in 1976 and other members of staff were named in the complaints the Police was received. However, given the lapse of time since the events are alleged to have taken place, it was difficult for the Police to investigate and trace former staff members.

The report stated;

“Having regard to these difficulties and the scale of the alleged physical and sexual abuse that has emerged in the evidence; we do not consider that it would be either practicable or appropriate for us to attempt to reach firm conclusions on each specific allegation.”

“There would have been sufficient evidence to justify interviewing Dr Milner under caution in relation to a number of potential offences.”
“The offences would have been rape, indecent assault contrary to the Sexual Offences Act 1956, Child Cruelty and Assault contrary to Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and Offences against the Person act 1861 respectively”.

There was no evidence of a conspiracy to find children for abuse.

Barbara O’Hair, who alleges she was abused by Dr Milner in the 1970s, has made the following statement to the BBC:

“The report gives recognition to what happened to me and others at the hospital and I’m very grateful to the police.”

The Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board has also accepted that the claims made by former patient, “were and are genuine.”

Derbyshire Police Chief Superintendent Kem Mehmet said:
“I am hopeful that the police investigation has helped those who have been affected by Aston Hall and Dr Milner with their recovery. When a victim of non-recent abuse becomes known to us, without exception we treat their individual needs and requirements as a priority.”

Former patients have submitted claims for compensation to the Department for Health for the abuse they have suffered.


If you have been affected by this article and would like advice about pursuing a civil claim for compensation please contact the Child Abuse team at Jordans Solicitors. We can be contacted on 033 0300 1103 or you can request a call back. We can advise you on the available options of pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases.

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