Huge fine for poor placement

Posted on August 7th, by editor in CT Extra. No Comments

Caring Times, September 2012

Fines totalling more than £800,000 have been handed out by Luton Crown Court in the case of a mentally ill man who killed a fellow resident in a care home.

Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Chelvanayagam Menna, owner of Abacus House, Dunstable, were found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act during a sentencing hearing (July 20).

The court had earlier been told that in August 2007, Kathleen Bainbridge, 58, had been a resident at Abacus House when she was stabbed to death by 55 year old fellow resident Stephen Flatt.

The trial heard evidence that Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust had been wrong to place Flatt, who had a long history of mental illness, in Abacus House which was a small privately run residential home with places for six residents suffering from brain disorders.

Partnership NHS Foundation Trust was fined £150,000 with costs of £326,000. Chelvanayagam Menna, was fined £75,000 with costs of £338,000. After the case HSE inspector Karl Howes commented: “Carehomes have a duty not only to protect the safety of their residents but their staff as well. The NHS Trust failed to adequately assess the risks that were posed to staff and other residents from placing Mr Flatt in Abacus House.” Flatt was sentenced to indefinite custody in a mental health unit following a trial in 2009.

At Flatt’s trial Judge John Bevan commented: “There are questions here which cry out for an answer, for example, what on earth Stephen Flatt was doing in plainly wholly unsuitable premises?”

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