Northern Ireland news

Second man arrested in connection with Muckamore probe released on police bail

Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Co Antrim is at the centre of a massive investigation into alleged patient abuse Picture Mal McCann.
Seanín Graham

A 33-YEAR-OLD man arrested by police in connection with abuse allegations at Muckamore Abbey Hospital was released yesterday on police bail.

The suspect was arrested in the Antrim area on Monday by detectives from the PSNI's Public Public Branch.

Last month a 30-year-old man became the first person to be arrested as part of the massive police investigation into alleged ill treatment of vulnerable patients in the Co Antrim facility.

He was also released on police bail "pending further enquiries".

The regional hospital close to Antrim town cares for adults with severe learning disabilities and is at the centre of the biggest PSNI adult safeguarding investigation in Northern Ireland.

In August, its lead detective confirmed that 1,500 suspected crimes had been identified in one ward after police viewed thousands of hours of CCTV footage.

Viewing of images in that ward, known as the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), is now complete with the PSNI about to start examining footage from three other wards.

Last Friday, a specialist team of detectives assigned to the case contacted families to inform them they had uncovered an offence of "non-contact sexual behaviour" by a staff member.

PSNI officers stressed that "no patients were physically involved" in the incident.

A total of 36 staff linked to alleged physical assaults and mental abuse of patients have been suspended by the Belfast health trust, which is responsible for Muckamore.

In yesterday's Irish News, it was reported that almost 40 nursing staff have left their jobs at the hospital since January through resignations or retirements.

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