Northern Ireland news

Father of Muckamore patient hopes NCA involvement will 'sharpen minds'

The father of a Muckamore Abbey hospital patient who was allegedly abused has welcomed involvement of National Crime Agency
Seanín Graham

A FATHER of a patient at Muckamore Abbey hospital who was allegedly punched in the stomach by a healthcare worker last night welcomed the inclusion of the NCA in the police investigation.

The man, who does not wish to be named, was central to the Belfast trust ordering its inquiry last August after he approached police and insisted on receiving more information about the incident - which Muckamore bosses described as a 'one-off".

Last week the Co Down man learned there are now '43 incidents' linked to mistreatment of his 21-year-old son over a three-and-a-half month period after investigators viewed CCTV footage.

His son, who suffers from severe learning disabilities and cannot speak, remains an inpatient but is discharged home for three to four days each week. His family say he is as "good as gold" and that he is "terrified" to return.

The father said he hoped the influence of individuals from the National Crime Agency would "sharpen minds across the board".

"There is a professional clout that comes with an organisation like this. I was surprised to learn of their involvement but I think it is positive - I welcome it,"he said.

"We are still worried about the length of time it is taking to carry out the investigation - but what I take from the NCA appointment is that the PSNI are taking this very seriously. I understand that our legal procedures in Northern Ireland can be slower than England where there was quick prosecutions after Winterbourne View."

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