Northern Ireland news

Mother tells inquiry her daughter had black eyes 'every other week' at Muckamore Abbey Hospital

A public inquiry into the abuse of patients by staff at Muckamore Abbey Hospital is ongoing.

THE mother of a former patient at Muckamore Abbey Hospital has told the public inquiry that her daughter once had "the worst black eye I have ever seen" during a visit.

Speaking at the hearing, the mother of Amanda, whose surname is withheld and who was admitted to the Antrim hospital in her late teens, described how her daughter suffered "continual injuries" during her time there.

Amanda's mother Marie said her daughter had been treated for frequent epileptic seizures since childhood, and was admitted to Muckamore after a period of self-harming.

She told the hearing that Amanda, who is now in her thirties and being cared for through independent living, was "afraid" while at the hospital and now had "nothing good to say" about it.

Marie said that while visiting Amanda on one occasion, she had "the worst black eye I had ever seen", which her husband, who had attended the visit, compared the injury to that of a boxer.

The couple were told the injury occurred when Amanda fell against a wall.

Amanda would have black eyes "every other week" during her next few years at Muckamore, Marie said.

On another occasion Amanda had a broken tooth. Marie told the hearing that she was never contacted by Muckamore staff to inform her of any of her daughter's injuries.

Marie said despite her fears, she felt she should trust the nursing staff as "they are like your GP", but added she felt guilt she was "going to have to live with".

Thirty-eight people linked to Muckamore have now been reported to the Public Prosecution Service in connection with what is the largest criminal safeguarding investigation of its kind in the UK.

The hospital is operated by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, which has now suspended 83 staff members and placed 68 others on a form of supervision and training.

The trust has issued an "unreserved and unequivocal apology" to patients and families affected by abuse at Muckamore, while the Department of Health has also apologised for what it described as "appalling behaviours" at the hospital.

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