A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Sally Gillen, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

George Harrison’s attacker released from

The man with mental health problems who broke into former Beatle
George Harrison’s mansion, attacked him with a table lamp and
repeatedly stabbed him with a knife, was released from a secure
hospital yesterday.

Michael Abram, who suffers from schizophrenia, was released from
the Scott Clinic in Rainhill, Merseyside, after a mental health
tribunal, presided over by a judge and involving an independent
psychiatrist, agreed he was well enough to be released into the

It is understood the 36-year-old will now live in a hostel with
support from a psychiatrist, nurse and social worker.

He was cleared of the attempted murder of Harrison and his wife
Olivia at their home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, in December
1999, on grounds of insanity.

In November 2000, the trail judge at Oxford crown court ordered
Abram to be detained at a secure hospital without time

Source: The Guardian Friday 5 July page 7

Clinic for child abusers forced to close

Protests by local residents, backed by the News of the
and their Tory MP, yesterday forced the closure of
Europe’s only clinic to provide intensive residential
treatment of child sex offenders.

The Wolvercote Clinic, run by the child protection charity the
Lucy Faithful Foundation, is to close on 31 July after seven years
during which it has effectively treated and assessed 300 men.

The home office said yesterday that since the clinic, which is
based in Horton hospital, Epsom, Surrey, opened in 1995, no child
had been put at risk.

The clinic was due to move from Horton hospital because of
redevelopment to a site at Silverlands, near Chertsey, Surrey, but
protests from local parents highlighted by the News of the
has blocked that option.

Source: The Guardian Friday 5 July page 9

I am not going to soften the law on Ecstasy says

Ecstasy will not be legally downgraded to the status of a soft
drug, the Daily Mail has learned.

David Blunkett will tell MPs next week that it can never be
switched from the current A category to Class B because “even one
tablet can kill”.

And in a bid to wind up the year-long debate on relaxing
Britain’s drugs laws, he will also rule out legalising

Source: Daily Mail Friday July page 43

Doctors back sperm donors’ anonymity

Doctors have voted for a motion protecting the anonymity of men
who donate sperm. The British Medical Association’s annual
conference in Harrogate decided in a close vote that men’s identity
should not be revealed.

The vote was against the advice of the BMA’s own medical ethics
committee. Several doctors said donors would be put off if they
knew children conceived from their donation could later find out
who they were.

At present ,sperm donors have to register their names with the
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and although their
identity cannot be revealed, the number of donors has fallen since
the rule was introduced.

Source:- The Times Friday 5 July page 13

Scottish newspapers

Church in talks on care home dispute

The Church of Scotland is to meet with a campaign group of
relatives who are refusing to allow their elderly relatives to move
out of a care home marked for closure.

Leslie House in Fife was one of five care units designated for
closure by the church due to heavy financial losses.

Relatives formed themselves into the Leslie House 21 Group, and
carried out a campaign including petitioning the General Assembly
of the Church of Scotland. Now residents are refusing to move until
all alternatives to closure are considered including residents
paying more, building a new home in the grounds and other private
providers taking over Leslie House.

Source:- The Herald Friday 5 July page 11

MSP plans prostitute tolerance zones bill

Margot MacDonald MSP is to introduce a member’s bill to
the Scottish parliament’s next session proposing that local
authorities be given the power to designate areas where prostitutes
could safely and legally ply their trade.

The move comes seven months after Edinburgh council scrapped its
high-profile scheme in the Leith area following sustained
opposition from residents.

Source:- The Herald Friday 5 July page 10

Child sex abuse case dropped after crown

The crown office was last night at the centre of controversy as
a case against a man accused of sexually abusing a nine-year-old
boy collapsed because it had failed to bring the case to court for
25 months.

When the case was first brought to Aberdeen sheriff court, the
accused claimed the delay had breached his rights under the
European Convention of Human Rights.

The plea was rejected by the sheriff and the accused took the
case to the appeal court. Yesterday, three appeal judges found in
favour of the accused, and expressed their dismay that a case
involving a young child was not accorded priority.

Source:- The Herald Friday 5 July page 2

Welsh newspapers

Care for vulnerable children is defended

A Cardiff councillor has hit back at criticism that vulnerable
children on the child protection register are being let down.

Cabinet member Peter Perkins has written to councillors and
staff after opposition Liberal Democrats criticised the authority
for only aiming to review 85 per cent of cases on the register
during the present year, which is fewer than in 2000-01.

Perkins said that children on the child protection register were
reviewed far more frequently than the minimum requirement of twice
yearly. He stressed that the council’s ultimate target was
that 100 per cent of reviews of children on the register should
take place by the due date.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson on social services, Jacqui Gasson
said that the problem has been ongoing for some years, and that
more effort would be made if the target was 100 per cent.

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 4 July page 21

Teacher in Owen inquiry allowed to return to

The former girlfriend of alleged paedophile, John Owen, has been
allowed to return to her teaching post after being vindicated by a
police investigation.

Theda Williams was suspended from her job as an English teacher
at Rhydfelen Comprehensive near Pontypridd following allegations
made during a public inquiry that she and four others were
implicated in alleged abuse of pupils at the school.

The Clywch inquiry, chaired by children’s commissioner for
Wales Peter Clarke, was set up to look into allegations of abuse by
Owen, but was adjourned following the police inquiry. A
spokesperson said that it would now resume in the autumn.

Source: Western Mail Friday 5 July page 2





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