Winterbourne View: Autism society wants punch probe

Ben Pullar's teeth Dentists said his injuries were consistent with being punched

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An autism group has called for a new investigation after allegations a patient lost two teeth when he was punched at a private Bristol hospital.

Eleven care workers are to be sentenced later for the maltreatment and neglect of five patients at Winterbourne View.

A BBC investigation also found evidence of alleged abuse against former patient Ben Pullar.

The National Autistic Society said the case should be "fully investigated" but police said they would not reopen it.

Mr Pullar is autistic and bi-polar, with severe learning difficulties, and when he was 18, he spent almost a year at Winterbourne View from July 2009.

The nurse involved, Maxwell Nyamukapa, was suspended and later reinstated. Despite repeated attempts to contact Mr Nyamukapa, he has refused to comment.

The police logged it as an assault, and said the nurse had acted instinctively and in self-defence.

Sarah Lambert, from the National Autistic Society, said: "Any disabled person living in residential care who sustains serious injury must have their case fully investigated.

'Clear message'

"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."

Daily care notes from his time at the hospital state Mr Pullar "had an accident with his teeth" just weeks after he arrived.

His family were told at one point he had "bitten the floor" and he was taken to Bristol Dental Hospital where the alarm was raised.

Notes obtained by Inside Out West said the nurse was bitten and retaliated in order to remove his fingers - and later, that he had pushed and pulled to get them out.

South Gloucestershire Council has declined to comment on Mr Pullar's case.

Castlebeck, the hospital's owner at the time, said its new board and management was rigorously reviewing what happened at Winterbourne View.

It said it had also referred Mr Nyamukapa twice to the Nursing & Midwifery Council, which declined to comment.

Inside Out West is on BBC One West on Mondays at 7.30pm and is available for seven days after on the iPlayer.

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