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Four directors prosecuted for 'culture of abuse' at UK care centres

People with significant learning disabilities were detained in seclusion rooms which had no heating or toilet facilities.

Jolyon Marshall (left) and his wife Rachel, who are among thirteen directors, managers and staff at two care homes to have been convicted today.
Jolyon Marshall (left) and his wife Rachel, who are among thirteen directors, managers and staff at two care homes to have been convicted today.
Image: Rod Minchin/PA Images

THIRTEEN DIRECTORS, MANAGERS and staff have been sentenced in relation to the abuse of vulnerable residents at two care homes in Devon.

In 2010 and 2011, residents were repeatedly and systematically detained in seclusion rooms which had no heating or toilet facilities, and little or no furniture, sometimes for several hours at a time or even overnight.

Atlas Project Team Limited ran the Veilstone and Gatooma homes in Holsworthy, providing care for residents with significant learning disabilities.

Prosecutors and police analysed thousands of incident records and interviews with former members of staff, and established a pattern that showed staff had used excessive and inappropriate seclusion as a result of their training.

The Crown Prosecutors Service (CPS) then authorise charges against four directors of Atlas, who gave this training, along with the staff who were directly involved in the abuse.

One of the directors, Jolyon Marshall, was also convicted of perverting the course of justice. Marshall encouraged one of the residents of Veilstone to run away and, along with two of his staff, made a false complaint of criminal damage against the man so as to have him arrested and removed from the home.

He has been sentenced to ten months imprisonment for Conspiracy to Falsely Imprison and to eight months consecutive for Perverting the Course of Justice (which was increased from 18 months to 28 months by the Court of Appeal last December).

His wife Rachel has been sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years for Conspiracy to Falsely Imprison.

Today at Bristol Crown Court, reporting restrictions were lifted, following a series of four trials.

Huw Rogers of the CPS said: “The directors and managers at the Atlas care homes created a culture of abuse – unlawfully detaining residents in very poor conditions for long periods of time.

This case has been ground-breaking in that the directors and managers of the homes and not just the staff that implemented their policies have been held to account.

Read: Investigation launched into allegations of serious abuse at centre for those with intellectual disabilities

Read: ‘Sometimes they shout at you; I don’t like it, I shout back’: People in care on what they need

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