People with learning difficulties win compensation for care home abuse

Care home residents with learning difficulties who suffered a
“regime of punishment” in which they were raped and
systemically abused could receive more than £1 million in
compensation, writes Sally Gillen.

The damages action was brought by 54 residents who had suffered
an “appalling saga of abuse and neglect” at the hands
of Gordon Rowe, owner of the Stoke Place Mansion House near

The group’s counsel, Elizabeth Ann Gumbel QC, said the
extent of abuse which took place over a decade was “difficult
to ascertain because of the difficulty in communicating with some
of the residents who had learning difficulties”.

Gumbel said regular inspections had been carried out by the
council, but “further investigations” should have been
carried out which would have exposed the ill-treatment at the

Director of Voice UK Kathryn Stone said: “It is a really,
really good outcome. If local authorities understand that it is
very expensive not to protect people properly, they might just
start making sure they are safe.”

Rowe committed suicide before the case reached court.

Meanwhile, five disabled children who were subjected to sexual,
physical and emotional abuse by a special support assistant at a
special needs school managed by West Sussex council have won
damages of more than £122,500 at the high court after the
council admitted liability.

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