Child abuse victims get payout after attacks at psychiatric hospital

Child abuse victims get payout after attacks at psychiatric hospital

Child abuse victims will get payout of millions after more than 120 were stripped, given truth serum and raped at psychiatric hospital in shocking case set to dwarf Jimmy Savile scandal

  • The victims were patients at Aston Hall, Derbyshire, when the attacks happened
  • Dr Kenneth Milner ran the hospital for 28 years with nearly 100 patients at a time
  • Each individual victim will receive a payout of at least £8,000 as a starting point 

More than 120 former child patients at a psychiatric hospital are set to receive compensation after they were abused by former hospital boss Dr Kenneth Milner 

More than 120 former child patients at a psychiatric hospital who suffered horrific sexual and physical abuse are set to receive a payout of millions of pounds.  

Dozens of vulnerable children were taken to Aston Hall, Derbyshire, where they were stripped naked, put in straightjackets and injected with a ‘truth serum’ before many were raped and sexually abused, detectives have been told.

Most of the sickening abuse was carried out by former hospital boss Dr Kenneth Milner in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Now it can be revealed an agreement has been made with the victims and the Secretary of State for Health which means the compensation will run into millions of pounds.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘This is an important milestone for everyone who was affected by these terrible events and we hope that all claims can be resolved as soon as possible.’ 

Dr Milner’s ‘treatment’ included victims who were both boys and girls being laid down on a single mattress and had a mask put over their face.

Some were injected with sodium amytal, a powerful barbiturate which would have left patients immobile and semi-conscious. 

It also acted as a ‘truth serum’ as Dr Milner asked questions about abuse they may have suffered, usually sexual, involving family members. 

They say this form of ‘therapy’ was not necessary, performed without any permission in inappropriate circumstances and was a form of abuse.

Many said while being asked questions they recalled Dr Milner’s sexual abuse and touching. 

One victim from Liverpool, Barbara O’Hare, was abused by Dr Milner numerous times.

She said she would be tied up, injected and placed on a mattress in a padded room.

Barbara O’Hare was abused by Dr Milner numerous times. She said she would be tied up, injected and placed on a mattress in a padded room 

Speaking when the initial report against the psychiatric hospital was made, she said: ‘This is the validation that we were telling the truth. Aston Hall took my life. I have not had a life because of this.

‘Dr Milner played with our bodies and our minds. I think, when you take into account of how long he was there for, he abused thousands of people.

‘And I would urge people out there who suffered at Aston Hall to come forward. Do not feel ashamed. Do not be frightened. Come forward and get help.’  

So far more than 120 former patients have taken legal action in the form of out of court settlements.

But the true number of victims is expected to be much higher as Milner ran the hospital for 28 years with around 100 patients at a time.

They will receive a payout of at least £8,000 as a starting point if they were ‘experimented on’ with Dr Milner’s ‘treatment’. 

It will increase for the many who were abused more than once. 

It is thought the compensation will surpass that handed to victims of paedophile DJ Jimmy Savile.

The 52 victims in that case received £500,000 in total, an average of just £9,615 each.

Aston Hall was Derbyshire police’s biggest investigation into child abuse in terms of the number of victims.

It has been described as one of the biggest abuse scandals in a mental health institution. 

Dr Milner died in 1976 but the report last year found that had he been alive, he would have been quizzed over allegations of rape, indecent assault and child cruelty.

Milner ran Aston Hall for 28 years with around 100 patients at a time. It is thought the compensation will surpass that handed to the victims of paedophile DJ Jimmy Savile

Sodium Amytal: ‘Truth serum’ invented in Germany in 1923 

Sodium Amytal is more commonly known now as Amobarbital.

It was first synthesised in Germany in 1923. 

It is a white, granular powder that is odorless and has a bitter taste and is soluble in both water and alcohol. 

The main use of the drug is as a sedative hypnotic and makes patients drowsy or semi-conscious.  

It was widely used during World War Two as an anti-anxiety drug for soldiers with shellshock.

However, it can also act as a ‘truth serum’. Under the influence of the drug, a person may divulge information that under normal circumstances they would block.

If amobarbital is taken for extended periods of time, physical and psychological dependence can develop.

Personal injury solicitor Dianne Collins, of Derby law firm Nelsons, has represented dozens of victims.

She said: ‘It has been a difficult process for our clients to re-live, but we are pleased they will now receive some financial compensation for their suffering.

‘While no amount of money can change what happened to these people or make up for how they have suffered since, I hope the settlement and the end of this long legal claim will help to give them closure and enable them to move forward.

‘What happened to those children at Aston Hall in the 1960s and 70s is appalling.

‘Sadly, at the time, there were no safeguarding procedures in place to stop it from happening.

‘Moreover, if these very vulnerable, young people tried to tell anyone what had happened to them, they were not believed. 

‘However, thanks to the many survivors who found the courage to come forward, they now have been given the justice they deserve.

‘Compensation will be allocated on a tariff basis starting at £8,000 for those who can prove they were admitted to Aston Hall during the 60s and 70s and received at least one treatment of narco-analysis while a patient there.

‘The settlement figure will increase for those who received more than one treatment.’

Ms Collins is also urging more victims to come forward.

She added: ‘I’m sure there are many other people out there who were subjected to this treatment who have not yet come forward and some who may even have passed away without ever getting the justice they deserve.

‘I would encourage anyone out there who suffered abuse at Aston Hall as a child and now wishes to speak out to report the abuse to the police – it is not too late.

‘In order to be included in the settlement scheme, we are urging anyone who believes they may have a claim to come forward within the next 28 days.

‘After that, they may still be able to join the scheme, but it cannot be guaranteed.’

The true scale of abuse at Aston Hall was uncovered in 2016 and in the same year compensation claims started to be made. 

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