Hillingdon Council to pay Steven Neary £35,000

Mark (left) and Steven Neary Mark Neary (left) has said he felt "powerless" to help his son Steven

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A west London council has been ordered to pay £35,000 to an autistic man who was unlawfully detained in a care unit.

Hillingdon Council held Steven Neary, 22, of Uxbridge, for almost a year after he was taken into a "positive behaviour unit" in 2009.

The High Court has approved the payment to Mr Neary, with Mr Justice Kenneth Parker saying he was "satisfied this is a proper order to make".

The same court ruled last year he had been unlawfully held.

The Court of Protection - a specialist court at the High Court which deals with issues surrounding vulnerable people - concluded the council's use of a "deprivation of liberty" authorisation had unlawfully deprived Mr Neary of his freedom.

It heard that Mr Neary's father, Mark, felt "powerless" over a care dispute which began after his son went into the "positive behaviour unit" in December 2009.

Mark Neary told the court that he viewed the care by the council as a temporary move and had expected his son to return home by January 2010.

'Lost my son'

At the time, Mr Neary said: "I knew Steven should be at home because I know Steven.

"I was always outnumbered. I would go to case conferences but they were just about me agreeing to whatever they (council staff) had decided. I would come out of these meetings in despair."

He added: "I felt I had let him down, lost my own son."

After the unlawful detention ruling last summer, the council apologised to Mark and Steven Neary.

In the end, Mr Neary stayed at the unit for nearly a year, returning to his father's home in December 2010, following a court order.

None of the family was in court for Thursday's brief hearing.

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