Aston Hall: Doctor 'would have been questioned' over child abuse claims

25 July 2018, 12:43

Child abuse

Police would have interviewed a doctor accused of the "horrific" abuse of 114 children at a hospital in Derbyshire had he been alive today, a report has found.

Child patients sent to Aston Hall Hospital in Derbyshire between the 1950s and 1970s have claimed they were taken to a secluded room, drugged and sexually abused by Kenneth Milner. Some were put in straitjackets.

On Wednesday Derbyshire Police said in a report: "There would have been sufficient evidence to justify interviewing Dr Milner under caution in relation to a number of potential offences, namely rape, indecent assault, child cruelty and assault."

So far 114 people have come forward to speak to the investigation team. Police have recorded 73 crimes, including 33 instances of physical abuse and 40 sexual.

Lawyers for 47 patients sent to the hospital in the 1960s and 1970s said the "horrific treatment" had "undoubtedly caused permanent, damaging effects".

Stephen Edwards, from Bond Turner, said: "We believe that every doctor should have to demonstrate their accountability in treating patients, especially those as vulnerable as children.

"The UK needs to ensure it has the clinical infrastructure to protect the next generation of young people and our efforts are focused on preventing this kind of gross negligence ever occurring again.

"We are committed to seeking the justice and compensation that our clients deserve and hope that today will encourage those who are yet to come forward to speak out."

A slew of claims were made against Milner, who was medical superintendent of Aston Hall, between 1954 and 1979.

As well as the sexual abuse, there were claims of a patients being hit while trying to resist treatment, one having her head repeatedly forced under water, and one having her hair repeatedly pulled to force her to take medication.

Another said she woke with her hands bound after being drugged and complained to a nurse of soreness between her legs. The nurse slapped her around the head and told her she must have a urine infection.

The vast majority of the allegations were made against Milner, who died in 1976. Other staff members accused of physical abuse have either been eliminated from the inquiry, are also dead or are unable to be identified.