The family of a man are calling for a previous case of alleged abuse at the former Winterbourne View residential hospital to be re-investigated.
Another BBC investigation, this time for the West of England edition of Inside Out, has found evidence of alleged abuse involving different staff members to those due to be sentenced today, for crimes exposed in last year’s Panorama documentary.
This case involves Ben Pullar, who is autistic and bi-polar with severe learning difficulties, who alleges he was punched in the face while he was at Winterbourne View. Pullar spent nearly a year at the Bristol hospital from July 2009 and is said to have lost two teeth in the incident.
However, according to the BBC, while the police have agreed the assault on Pullar was "not acceptable" they would not re-open the case.
In its investigation, the BBC saw Pullar’s daily care notes which stated that he ‘had an accident with his teeth’. His family said they were given mixed messages about the incident, including being told Pullar had ‘bitten the floor’.
Meanwhile, other notes obtained by the BBC said that a nurse was bitten and retaliated in self-defence in order to remove his fingers – and later, that he had pushed and pulled to get them out of Pullar’s mouth.
Again, according to the BBC, the police report logged the incident as an assault, and said the nurse had acted instinctively and in self-defence.
The National Autistic Society (NAS) has backed the call for a re-investigation of Pullar’s case. Sarah Lambert, head of policy at the NAS, said: “Any disabled person living in residential care who sustains serious injury must have their case fully investigated.
“Abuse of those with autism and other disabilities by those who are supposed to care for and protect them is utterly abhorrent and is a disability hate crime.
“The police must reopen this case in order to send a clear message that any abuse by support staff is not only totally unacceptable, but a serious criminal offence.”