Northern Ireland news

Muckamore Abbey Hospital: Five more incidents of abuse of vulnerable man discovered on CCTV

The father of a patient of Muckamore Abbey Hospital has spoken of the impact of the abuse he has suffered
Seanín Graham

THE father of a Muckamore patient has spoken of his devastation after being informed that a further five incidents of abuse against his vulnerable son have been discovered on CCTV - bringing the total to 48.

The father-of-four from Dundonald was contacted earlier this week by the Belfast health trust about the latest "atrocious" acts of ill treatment, which he said has been hugely distressing for his family.

His 22-year-old son is non-verbal and suffers from severe learning disabilities.

He was admitted to Muckamore in May last year when he became very ill but his condition improved dramatically when his medication was changed.

Throughout each incident of abuse he is passive, his family have learned. They also know he was placed in seclusion room described as "inhumane" 53 times over the space of three months.

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"We were told in September that after viewing the CCTV footage, the 'final' figure of ill treatment of my son was 30. Then we were getting more phone calls and the numbers kept going up - to 43 - which we assured was also the end, but now its gone up again. You keep thinking - is this it," the parent said.

"I cannot go into the details of what happened but I just keep thinking about what my son has gone through and the effect on him. Is he traumatised? An able-bodied child could express themselves but my son can't tell us how he feels.

"There are times when you are on your own and you can't get these awful thoughts out of your head."

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A whistleblower told The Irish News in July that patients at Muckamore were kicked, punched, kneed in the groin and thrown into a seclusion room without supervision.

Some were also locked out in the garden area as 'punishment' while others were "kept in the dark".

The man's son is medically fit to be discharged from Muckamore but this cannot happen due to a shortage of dedicated community care packages.

"We are getting home three to four days a week and he's as good as gold. He is coming home on Christmas Eve for seven nights and eight days, we can't wait," added the father.

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