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Cases dropped against care workers charged with abusing and neglecting patients

By tobymeyjes  |  Posted: March 15, 2014

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Cases have been dropped against three former care workers charged with abusing and neglecting patients

Three former care workers, who were charged with abusing and neglecting patients at a day centre for vulnerable adults,have had the cases against them dropped.

Benjamin Jenkins, 23, of St Ives, Philip Sowden, 60, of Penzance, and Christine Keller, 59, of Hayle, were found not guilty at Truro Crown Court yesterday after the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against them.

The three, who were all employed at the John Daniel Centre in Heamoor, near Penzance, had been charged with ill-treating and willfully neglecting a person without capacity.

Mr Jenkins and Mr Sowden had both faced two counts in relation to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, while Ms Keller faced one count of the same charge.

The charges they faced covered a period from April 2007 through to December 2011 at the centre which cares for more than 80 people with learning difficulties.

Nicola Haywood, of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), told the BBC: “When we initially reviewed this case we felt there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.

“The CPS has a duty of continual review and, as part of this process, information came to light which meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.”

Charges were brought against the three after concerns were raised about the treatment of patients at the centre in November 2011.

Cornwall Council, which runs the centre, had begun an immediate investigation following the claims, culminating in the suspension of a number of staff and arrest of five – two of which were later released without charge.

In October 2012, council chiefs said ten members of staff had been cleared by a disciplinary inquiry and at the time had returned to work.

A council spokesman said, yesterday,: “The council will continue to work closely with partners and people who use the service and their families to ensure high quality and safe service provision.”

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