'I failed to protect my child from Winterbourne View'

Image caption,
Ann Earley said she did not know about previous safe guarding alerts on her son

"We as parents are there to protect our children and for whatever reason we failed to do so and it's a huge burden of guilt."

Ann Earley is the mother of Simon Tovey, a man with learning difficulties who was the victim of abuse at Winterbourne View.

In secret footage filmed by Panorama, Mr Tovey, 38, was slapped, physically restrained and mentally abused.

On Friday, 11 of his former care workers were sentenced for either mistreatment or neglect. Six were jailed for between two years and six months.

"He's absolutely delighted that they've gone to prison," said Ms Earley.

"He has a very simple sense of justice - when things go wrong you call the police and the baddies go to jail and for him that's happened.

"He never did understand what he was doing wrong to receive the sort of treatment that he did."

'No-one told us'

But now the BBC has found evidence of allegations that he was mistreated at Postern House in Wiltshire, a care home he stayed in shortly before Winterbourne View.

Mr Tovey was at the Marlborough home from 2009-10.

His notes show that there were two incidents against him which led to staff being disciplined.

In the first, a care worker was given a final warning after they laid across his chest while restraining him and did not release him immediately.

In another incident, another person at the home said they saw something inappropriate happen between Mr Tovey and a care worker. His notes do not detail the incident but say the care worker was given a verbal warning.

Image caption,
Simon Tovey is now back at the care home he had previously lived in for 16 years

There was a meeting at Postern House - which neither Mr Tovey's family or his advocate Sue Armstrong were invited to - and three days later he was moved to Winterbourne View.

Ms Armstrong said: "I feel choked that they whisked him away to Winterbourne View to deflect the investigation into Postern.

"Had that not have happened, he may not have gone to Winterbourne View."

Postern House said the incidents were investigated thoroughly and could not be compared to Winterbourne View.

Wiltshire Council said it conducted an investigation.

It said that along with the police, it was "confident that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate a crime or abuse".

"Wiltshire Council has no evidence that Postern House is not a good provider. It reacted quickly to advise the council of the safeguarding alerts and acted appropriately to support the investigation," added the statement.

Of Winterbourne View, Ms Earley told BBC Wiltshire: "I was appalled as I felt it was a huge breach of trust not to even mention to us that these incidents had happened.

"We knew there had been difficulties, that they had restrained Simon on a frequent basis, and we were very unhappy about that but there was nothing to indicate something of that nature.

"Instead of looking to see what was wrong with the staff, they tended just to blame Simon."

'Potentially dangerous'

The care home where Mr Tovey had lived for 16 years had taken on extra staff to cope with his behaviour and wanted funding for those employees.

The home asked Wiltshire Council for an extra £600 a week so that they could provide the extra care he needed during peak times.

Image caption,
Postern House said it thoroughly investigated the incidents against Mr Tovey

The council decided with other agencies that Mr Tovey had to be assessed and he was then moved out of the care home into a hospital before he went on to Postern House and then Winterbourne View.

His family said they had little choice and that assessment was only supposed to take three to six months. Mr Tovey was away for nearly three years.

Since Panorama, Mr Tovey has returned to the care home near his family which he did not want to leave. This costs £1,400 per week less than Winterbourne View.

Ms Earley said she felt hugely let down.

"All this could have been resolved in his current home, he need never have had those three years of hell."

She is now calling for large assessment units to be closed and for the views of families to be taken into consideration.

The government is due to publish a review into Winterbourne View.

"We need the system to stop regarding our children as potentially dangerous. It's just ridiculous. Simon is not dangerous."

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