Northern Ireland news

Man (30) released on bail by detectives probing Muckamore allegations

Muckamore Abbey Hospital, Co Antrim. Picture by Mal McCann

A 30-year-old man questioned by police in connection with abuse allegations at Muckamore Abbey Hospital has been released on bail.

He was arrested on October 14 by detectives probing the alleged physical and mental abuse of patients at the Co Antrim facility.

A PSNI spokesman said the man had been released on police bail last night, pending further enquiries.

It was the first arrest by officers investigating the alleged abuse at the hospital, which is a regional facility for adults with severe learning disabilities.

Some 36 employees have been temporarily suspended.

Muckamore is currently at the centre of the biggest PSNI safeguarding investigation of its kind after CCTV footage emerged of alleged abuse of patients in a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in September 2017.

A specialist police team has been trawling through thousands of hours of CCTV footage from the hospital.

To date 1,500 crimes have been identified on just one ward while 3 staff have been suspended by the Belfast health trust in relation to physical abuse and mental cruelty of patients with severe learning disabilities.

In an interview with the Irish News earlier this year, Detective Chief Inspector Jill Duffie described it as the "largest adult safeguarding case" of its kind undertaken by the PSNI.

Yesterday the head of the Belfast trust announced his retirement and singled out allegations of abuse at Muckamore Abbey Hospital and the major recall of neurology patients as the biggest issues he faced during his tenure.

Read more: Head of Belfast Trust announces his retirement

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