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Doctor ‘would have been questioned’ over child abuse claims

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A police investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse by a doctor at a former psychiatric hospital for children has concluded there was sufficient evidence to interview him.

More than 100 people who were child patients at Aston Hall, Derbyshire, in the 1960s and 1970s claim Dr Kenneth Milner gave them drugs which left them in a zombie-like state and unable to move.

Dr Milner died in 1976, but a Derbyshire Police report has found that had he been alive, he would have been questioned over allegations of rape, indecent assault and child cruelty.

Investigators trawled medical and administrative documents relating to Aston Hall, which accommodated children assessed to have learning and physical difficulties.

Aston Hall hospital. Pic: Project Mayhem
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Dozens of former patients have come forward complaining of physical and sexual abuse the hospital

Carol Mackie was just 15 when she was sent there in the 1960s after running away from home.

She went to Derbyshire Police with her allegations in 2011. The matter was investigated but went no further.

Two years ago, dozens of former patients began to come forward complaining of physical and sexual abuse – prompting a new police investigation.

The report reveals that 115 witnesses were interviewed and that 77 offences were recorded in relation to a total of 65 victims – including rape, sexual assault and common assault – against Dr Milner and other hospital staff at the time.

Aston Hall hospital - hydro pool. Pic: Project Mayhem
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The hydro pool at Aston Hall hospital

Children were told they were to undergo “treatment” for their condition, the report said.

The “treatment” consisted of being stripped naked before being injected with sodium pentothal and sodium amytal – sometimes known as “truth serums” – which rendered the victim semi-conscious and unable to move.

The report states: “This type of procedure would not be acceptable within today’s medical standards.

“It is questionable as to whether it was acceptable during the period in question, particularly in the treatment of young people.”

Aston Hall hospital - patient room. Pic: Project Mayhem
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A patient room at the hospital

The report concludes that had he been alive, there would have been sufficient evidence to justify interviewing Dr Milner under caution in connection with several potential offences including rape, indecent assault, and child cruelty.

But it also states no inference can be drawn as to his guilt.

The Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board has also accepted that the claims made by Carol and others were and are genuine.

Derbyshire Police Chief Superintendent Kem Mehmet said: “I am hopeful that the police investigation has helped those who have been affected by Aston Hall and Dr Milner with their recovery.

“When a victim of non-recent abuse becomes known to us, without exception we treat their individual needs and requirements as a priority.”

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