North Devon care home abuse trial ends

A long and complex investigation into care home abuse in North Devon that began in 2011, concluded today Wednesday 7 June 2017, at Bristol Crown Court. The investigation led to three trials involving 24 people.

The abuse took place at two care homes run by Atlas Care Homes (no longer operating) which were Veilstone in Bideford and Gatooma in Holsworthy.

Until today (7 June) reporting restrictions have been in place while legal proceedings were still ongoing. At a hearing today at Bristol Crown Court, the crown offered no evidence for the remaining two defendants, Aaron Jones and Jamie Lawson, therefore reporting restrictions were lifted.

Detective Chief Inspector Sheon Sturland from Devon and Cornwall Police said:

“This case has been very complex and in many ways is the first of its kind in this country, dealing with not just those workers directly involved with victims, but all the way up to owners, directors and senior managers, who allowed a culture of abuse to exist.

“We welcome the outcome of the court process. It sends a very clear message that abuse of any kind against vulnerable people – whether as an individual or as a result of an institutionalised culture will not be tolerated. Those who commit such crimes will be thoroughly investigated and brought before the courts to face justice.

“The whole investigation team’s thoughts are with the victims and their families. I hope now that they can have some closure after those involved have been brought to justice.

“This investigation involved working closely with a number of partner organisations in the public and third sector and we would not be here today without their full cooperation and commitment – this truly was a multi-agency operation throughout. Particular acknowledgement should be given to Mencap, The Challenging Behaviour Foundation and Respond who all supported and worked closely with the families affected by this case.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank the officers and staff who’ve worked on this investigation over a five year period, for their diligence, tenacity and commitment, in leaving no stone unturned, which resulted in 24 people being charged with various offences and 13 people being convicted.

“Should anyone have any concerns, as a result of this case, about the treatment of a relative in a care setting then they should make contact with their local police force by calling 101. The police will treat all allegations of abuse seriously and sensitively and I hope that this investigation clearly demonstrates that.”

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

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