Death prompts calls for increased protection of adults

The death of a care home resident at the hands of a fellow patient has prompted calls for adult protection to be given the same statutory weight as that afforded to children.

Ronald Roberts, 72, was jailed for life at the Old Bailey last week after admitting the manslaughter by diminished responsibility of Angela Titley at a mental health unit in Surrey.

Roberts had started a relationship with the 56-year-old woman after being admitted to the mixed-sex low-security Shrewsbury Court ward at Whitepost care home in Redhill, despite a history of assaults on women.

Diagnosed with a severe personality disorder, he stabbed Titley three days after failing to receive the injection of the anti-psychotic drugs he was due to have once every three weeks.

Judge Anthony Morris QC said there were numerous and alarming shortcomings in the care given to Roberts and his victim.

An external inquiry into the treatment and care of Roberts and Titley has been commissioned by South West London Health Authority and Kent and Medway Strategic Health Authority, the two originating authorities.

But a serious case review into the adult protection issues, led by Surrey Council, was started in May.

The review focused on the way agencies worked together and although not yet published Surrey’s adult protection manager Louise Lamb said it was likely to argue the statutory framework was not strong enough.

She said: “There’s no statutory partnership arrangement in place for adult protection as there is for child protection.”

A legal framework which mirrored child protection would help prevent adults “falling through the gaps” she added.
Action on Elder Abuse chief executive Gary FitzGerald said adult protection was only covered by guidance, which was likely to be a lower priority for authorities than the statutory responsibilities to children.


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