Friday 24 November 2017

Six jailed at care home linked to key Irish investors

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

SIX people have been jailed for abuse of patients at a UK care home linked to wealthy Irish investors, including former Kerry Group chief Denis Brosnan, JP McManus and John Magnier.

Mr Brosnan's Swiss-based venture Lydian Capital majority-owns the Castlebeck Care Homes Ltd, which ran the Winterbourne View private hospital in south Gloucestershire.

Racehorse owner Mr McManus, thoroughbred stud owner Mr Magnier and financier Dermot Desmond are also shareholders in Castlebeck.

As well as the six staff who were jailed, five others were given suspended sentences by a judge at Bristol Crown Court, who condemned the abuse they meted out to patients with learning difficulties.

The 11 defendants -- nine support workers and two nurses -- were caught in a BBC 'Panorama' sting by a reporter with a hidden camera who posed as a carer. His footage showed residents being slapped, soaked in water, trapped under chairs, sworn at and having their hair pulled and eyes poked.

In a statement, Castlebeck said it welcomed the fact that the legal process into the "wholly unacceptable and criminal behaviour" at Winterbourne had come to an end.

"When those events at Winterbourne View Independent Hospital were exposed in May 2011, the board and the company's then chief executive expressed their unequivocal and unreserved regret to the service-users involved and their families," the statement said.

"They also gave a clear commitment to protect the safety and well-being of all those who use Castlebeck's services. Swift and decisive action was taken by the board and management as soon as the allegations concerning former members of staff at Winterbourne View were raised almost 18 months ago."

Castlebeck said it had now carried out a review and implemented a range of improvements to ensure there was no repeat of the scandal.

Abuse

None of the Irish backers could be reached for comment last night. However, a previous release from Mr Brosnan said he was shocked and appalled by what had happened.

While the home is largely owned through Mr Brosnan's Lydian Capital, for most of the Irish backers the deal was an arms-length financial investment.

One of the care workers, Jason Gardiner (43), apologised for his behaviour as he left court.

"At the time it was misguided. I was trying to do the right thing and I ended up doing wrong and I apologise," he said.

"All I can do is apologise to everybody for what happened. I really never meant any harm to anybody."

Irish Independent

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