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Thirteen sentenced over care home abuse

07/06/2017

Four company directors and nine employees have been sentenced in relation to the abuse of vulnerable residents at care homes in Devon.

Atlas Project Team Limited ran the Veilstone and Gatooma homes in Holsworthy, providing care for residents with significant learning disabilities.

During 2010 and 2011 residents were repeatedly and systematically detained in seclusion rooms which had no heating or toilet facilities, and little or no furniture, sometimes for several hours at a time or even overnight.

From an early stage, prosecutors worked closely with Devon and Cornwall Police to analyse thousands of incident records and interviews with former members of staff. Through this work, a pattern was established which demonstrated that staff had used excessive and inappropriate seclusion as a result of training given to them by senior figures in the company. This allowed the CPS to authorise charges against the directors of Atlas, along with the staff who were directly involved in the abuse.

One of the directors, Jolyon Marshall, was also convicted of perverting the course of justice. Marshall encouraged one of the residents of Veilstone to run away and, along with two of his staff, made a false complaint of criminal damage against the man so as to have him arrested and removed from the home.

Today (7 June) at Bristol Crown Court, reporting restrictions were lifted, following a series of four trials.

Huw Rogers of the CPS said: "The directors and managers at the Atlas care homes created a culture of abuse - unlawfully detaining residents in very poor conditions for long periods of time.

"This case has been ground-breaking in that the directors and managers of the homes and not just the staff that implemented their policies have been held to account.

"The CPS has worked tirelessly throughout this complex case in partnership with the police to achieve a successful outcome and justice for the victims. I would like to thank all those who have supported the prosecution case and in particular the residents of the homes and their families."

Charges and sentences:

  • Paul Hewitt (director) - found guilty and sentenced to a fine of £12,500 for the Health and Safety offence of Failing to Discharge a Duty. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £105,000.
  • Jolyon Marshall (director) - pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for Conspiracy to Falsely Imprison and to 8 months consecutive for Perverting the Course of Justice. On 9 December 2016 this was increased from 18 months to 28 months by the Court of Appeal.
  • Rachael Marshall (director) - pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years for Conspiracy to Falsely Imprison.
  • Timothy Stevens (director) - pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, with for Conspiracy to Falsely Imprison.
  • Lisa Pluckrose - pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment, suspended for 1 year for Perverting the Course of Justice and to the same for one a count of False Imprisonment, concurrently.
  • Timothy Berry - pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment, suspended for 1 year, with 100 hours unpaid work for Perverting the Course of Justice and to the same for one count of False Imprisonment, concurrently.
  • Victoria Cobbett - pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment, suspended for 1 year for a count of False Imprisonment.
  • Natasha Stapleton - found guilty and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years (concurrent on each count) for 3 counts of False Imprisonment.
  • Christine Kent - found guilty and sentenced to 4 months imprisonment, suspended for 1 year (concurrent on each count) for 2 counts of False Imprisonment.
  • Alison Palmer - found guilty and sentenced to a conditional discharge for 2 years for False imprisonment.
  • Sarah Eke - found guilty and sentenced to a conditional discharge for 2 years for False Imprisonment.
  • Samantha Honey - found guilty and sentenced to a conditional discharge for 12 months for False Imprisonment.
  • Chloe Massey-Caines - found guilty and sentenced to a conditional discharge for 12 months for False Imprisonment.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Huw Rogers is Head of the Complex Casework Unit for CPS South West.
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233