Police launch criminal investigation into west Belfast care home
POLICE have launched a criminal investigation into allegations of mistreatment of residents at a west Belfast care home.
It comes after a damning report from the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland (COPNI) found "inhuman and degrading" treatment of patients at Dunmurry Manor Care Home.
Harrowing details of alleged neglect and abuse at the home, dating back to 2014, were uncovered in a landmark report by the commissioner, Eddie Lynch.
Among the findings were details of how residents went for "weeks on end without meals" and were denied medication. One pensioner dropped from 15 stone to five over a few months and bed sores were so extreme they went "down to the bone" and became infected with E coli.
The PSNI yesterday said a criminal investigation had been launched into allegations "concerning the treatment and care provided to residents at Dunmurry Manor Care Home".
It said it has been gathering evidence in recent months.
SDLP assembly member Pat Catney welcomed the launch of the criminal investigation.
"The SDLP has been consistent in calling for criminal investigations regarding Dunmurry Manor and we are pleased that the PSNI will begin their investigations immediately," he said.
"It is important that the investigation is full and thorough to ensure that families and victims receive truth and justice for any wrongdoings.
"It is vital that we restore confidence in our residential and nursing care so that families know that their loved ones are safe."
Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew also said the investigation needs to be "thorough, robust and needs to be concluded as quickly as possible".
"It's very worrying that a police investigation has to be launched into the care of people in a home," he said.
"The Department of Health and the Health Trusts have a responsibility to ensure that vulnerable people have the very highest standards of care.
"That clearly hasn't been the case in Dunmurry Manor."