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10 in court over care home abuse

Ten staff at a care home at the centre of a BBC Panorama investigation into allegations of the abuse of vulnerable patients have appeared in court charged with a string of offences.

They appeared at North Avon Magistrates' Court in Yate to face a total of 40 allegations of the ill treatment and wilful neglect of patients at the Winterbourne View care home in Hambrook, South Gloucestershire.

The private hospital was closed by its owners after the BBC current affairs programme broadcast, in May, undercover footage of the apparent misconduct, which appeared to show vulnerable residents being pinned down, slapped, doused in water and taunted.

The 10 who appeared in court were: Wayne Rogers, 31; Graham Doyle, 25; Alison Dove, 24; Jason Gardiner, 42; Charlotte Cotterell, 21; Holly Draper, 22; Michael Ezenagu, 28; Kelvin Fore, 33; Sookalingum Appoo, 58; and Danny Brake, 27.

The offences are alleged to have been committed between February and March 2011 against Louise Bissett, Louisa Deville, Simon Tovey, and Simone Blake and Lorraine Guilford, who were all patients at the home.

Rogers is accused of 10 charges of ill-treating Miss Bissett, Miss Deville, Mr Tovey and Miss Blake; Doyle is facing seven counts of ill-treating Mr Tovey and Miss Blake and a single charge of wilful neglect against Miss Guilford; Dove faces seven charges of ill-treating Mr Tovey, Miss Guilford, Miss Bissett and Miss Blake; Gardiner is charged with two counts of ill-treating Miss Deville and Mr Tovey; Cotterell faces two counts of ill-treating Miss Blake; Draper is also accused of two charges of ill-treating Miss Blake; Ezenagu is accused of three counts of ill-treating Mr Tovey and Miss Blake; Fore faces a single charge of the wilful neglect of Miss Blake; Appoo is accused of three offences of the wilful neglect of Miss Blake; and Brake is accused of two counts of ill-treating Miss Blake and Mr Tovey.

Prosecutor Ann Reddrop told the court that Appoo and Fore were both nursing staff while the others were care workers.

"These are highly vulnerable victims and the defendants were in caring roles and involved a gross breach of trust," she said. "They are not one-off incidents and they continued over a period time."

No pleas were entered and District Judge David Parsons committed the 10 to Bristol Crown Court on February 9.

Avon and Somerset Police said three men aged 25, 27 and 41, who have also been arrested on suspicion of causing ill treatment, remain on police bail, pending further enquiries. A fourteenth person - a 40-year-old man - who was arrested on suspicion of common assault has been released without charge, an Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said.


From Belfast Telegraph