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Muckamore Abbey Hospital: Seven people to be prosecuted for alleged offences including ill-treatment of patients

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Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

Seven people are to be prosecuted for a range of offences including the alleged ill-treatment of patients at Muckamore Abbey Hospital.

It is understood the seven people are former staff of the scandal-hit hospital, which is at the centre of a major police probe into allegations of abuse of vulnerable patients.

It is the first time the PPS has directed prosecution in relation to the long-running scandal.

The PPS issued a statement on Friday morning, which said, “decisions have been taken to prosecute individuals reported on one police file for offences alleged to have been committee at Cranfield Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit”.

PPS Assistant Director Martin Hardy said: “This decision follows a thorough consideration of all the evidence in an investigation file received from police in April 2020.

“The seven individuals are being prosecuted for a range of offences including the alleged ill-treatment and wilful neglect of patients contrary to the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986.

“We have written to the families of the affected patients this morning to inform them of the decisions.

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“A second investigation file received from police in December 2020 in relation to alleged ill-treatment at the hospital remains under active consideration.

“Decisions will issue in due course after a thorough consideration of all the available evidence.

“We acknowledge how difficult this process has been for the patients and their families, and we recognise the great dignity that they have shown.

“We will continue to engage with them and ensure they are kept informed as the process continues.

“As proceedings will soon commence as regards the seven individuals, it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

It is understood the individuals reported for prosecution were named on a file received from police in April last year.

A further eight suspects were reported in the second investigation file, which it is believed is still under consideration by the PPS.

Head of the PSNI’s Public Protection Branch Detective Chief Superintendent Anthony McNally said: “The decision by the PPS to prosecute seven people for a range of offences in connection with the alleged ill-treatment of patients at Muckamore Abbey Hospital today is significant progress in this police investigation.

“This has been a very detailed and complex investigation and we will continue to work closely with the PPS, who have written to the families involved to make them aware of the decision to prosecute seven people for a range of offences including ill-treatment and wilful neglect contrary to the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986.

“Our specially trained officers will continue to provide support to the families whose loved ones are at the centre of this investigation.

“From the outset we have been committed to working closely with them, with the aim of keeping them as informed as much as we possibly can and we will continue to do so.

“The protection of our most vulnerable is a priority for the PSNI.”

Allegations of abuse at Muckamore Abbey Hospital, which is run by the Belfast Trust and located on the outskirts of Antrim, first came to light in 2017.

The actions of the Belfast Trust has come under the spotlight as a result of the allegations, with a damning report outlining a series of catastrophic failings and found there was a culture of tolerating harm.

The review, A Way To Go, commissioned by the Belfast Trust, looked at safeguarding at the hospital between 2012 and 2017.

Safeguarding is the process of protecting people from abuse of neglect and preventing impairment of their health and development.

The Belfast Trust has since overhauled how it monitors the services at the hospital.


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