What we want, and what we need are Truth, Accountability and Justice. The story of how a 35yr old Mental Health Nurse was allowed to groom a vulnerable mentally ill 21yr old woman in an NHS Hospital, have sex on hospital premises, then conceal an unwanted pregnancy and arrange a crisis abortion, is very much in the Public Interest. The CPS should prosecute this case, but they will not. The most we can now achieve will be to obtain the truth and we intend to do this via a new and proper inquest into Alison’s death. We are now well on the way to achieving this.
Former patients and staff have told us that sex with patients and even rape by nurses occurred in Garlands Hospital. We now know that what happened to Alison in Carlisle was not an isolated incident. Cumbria Police and the CPS should fully explore what happened and get to the bottom of events that occurred under the noses of NHS staff. If Alison were famous they would be falling over themselves to take this matter to court.
In an ideal world, we would like independent reviews of both the investigations Cumbria Police undertook in 2001 and 2016. These should clarify the role of a former Senior Police Commander who was on the board of the local NHS at the time of the first investigation and seek to establish what happened to the evidence we gave Cumbria Police that they conveniently lost? We think the Police had an implicit national policy of not intervening in cases in NHS Hospitals.
We would like the role of Executives from North Cumbria NHS in 2001 to be explored, including Nigel Woodcock and Shirley Chipperfield. Why did they suddenly lose Alison’s medical records and why didn’t they share evidence we gave them with Cumbria Police, including a copy of a pregnancy termination certificate? Was there a concerted effort to protect the recently damaged reputation of the NHS Trust by making sure this evidence never reached the CPS? We would also like the role of Alison’s consultant psychiatrist Dr Singh to be explored, he appears to have deliberately withheld information from Alison’s GP in Doncaster. And we would like to establish who the managers were at Garlands in 1988 that ignored the warnings of staff who told them what was happening; we think they have questions to answer.
We want to know why Robert Scott-Buccleuch was able to continue in Hospital Radio at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle under Shirley Chipperfield, the same HR Director who investigated and knew what he had done when he was a Trainee Mental Health Nurse at the Garlands. We were assured by the NHS that he would not work in a patient-facing setting again.
We would like to know if the Hebron Church in Carlisle was aware of what Scott-Buccleuch had done. He has held a position of responsibility at the Church, including dealing with young adults for many years. What did they know and do they have safeguarding processes in place?
The trainee nurse who had sex with Alison has no idea or desire to understand the damage he caused. However, we do not want harm to come to him; enough people have been hurt by his actions and we have no wish to ruin more lives. He concealed his wrongdoing for almost thirty years before finally admitting his offences to the Police in 2017. What he did was despicable, illegal, immoral, harmful, selfish, unethical and unacceptable. In using a vulnerable mental health patient for sex and covering his tracks with an abortion, he ignored his duty to act in Alison’s interest. We believe he should answer for what he did and have asked Cumbria Police for restorative justice; a request that has been ignored. But whatever he did, he was just one part of a wider system that allowed these things to happen and enabled him to get away with serious sexual misconduct. Though he is responsible for his actions and entirely culpable, it should be noted that other people knew what was going on; they are also accountable.
What happened to Alison in the NHS Hospital in Carlisle was not known at the time of the original inquest into her death so an attempt to open a new inquest will be our opportunity to get the facts out in the open. The Coroner’s office has already acknowledged that what happened to Alison when she was in the Garlands Hospital would have had a significant impact on her and played a part in the events that unfolded.