A report by Derbyshire Police into the Aston Hall facility found children were allegedly given a “truth drug”, stripped and abused whilst patients at the hospital in Derbyshire.

The report also found one patient, Barry Wright, drowned in the River Trent while trying to escape in 1959.

Police said Mr Wright, 24, was initially buried in an unidentified grave on hospital grounds before being transferred to a Loughborough cemetery. His family were not notified of his death until two weeks after the event.

A further three deaths identified by The Times as having taken place in the river in 1962 will also be investigated.

The report found that 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.” Allegations were made that the children were drugged with sodium amytal, a powerful barbiturate which would have left patients immobile and semi-conscious.

Allegations about abuses at Aston Hall first came to light in 2011, and after more claims in following years police launched an investigation in February 2016.

Most of the allegations were made against Dr Kenneth Milner, who ran the hospital from 1947 to the 1970s and died in 1975. Police confirmed that if he was still alive, he would have been questioned over rape and cruelty claims.

Derbyshire Police said the deaths of 19-year-old Terence Comer, 25-year-old James Holden and 22-year-old John Wigley in the River Trent, which were all highlighted by The Times’ report as having occurred while Dr Milner was in charge, had not been brought to the force’s attention.

Det Ch Supt Kem Mehmet said new victims coming forward had provided “further information” to aid its “complex and prolonged” investigation.

“The circumstances of the deaths would have been detailed by the coroner at that point and this information will be considered by officers as part of our investigation moving forward,”

he said.

“As further information is received by our team, lines of enquiry will continue to be investigated”


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 free 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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