Bestiality at home for handicapped is alleged

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The Independent Online
POLICE yesterday raided two Buckinghamshire homes in which mentally handicapped residents were allegedly raped, beaten and tormented, and took away hundreds of pornographic videos.

The raids came after the Independent learnt that a resident claimed he had been made to have sexual intercourse with animals and that the acts were video-taped. Also, it has been alleged by a former member of staff that Angela Rowe, co- manager of the homes, masturbated residents.

The police acted yesterday after new evidence of abuse in the two homes was produced following a report in the Independent last week which disclosed that residents had been assaulted and humiliated.

Detective Inspector Brian Langston, of Thames Valley Police, who is leading the inquiry, said last night: 'We have executed four search warrants on premises including two residential homes and two houses belonging to Gordon and Angela Rowe. A quantity of material has been seized.'

Neither Gordon nor Angela Rowe was available for comment yesterday. They have not been seen at their Windsor home for several days.

Tim Smith, a Northern Ireland minister and MP for the Beaconsfield constituency, which covers the Stoke Poges homes, said last night: 'Mr Rowe should be prosecuted'. He is to ask for a meeting with John Bowis, Health minister responsible for residential care.

Staff gave detailed statements earlier this year to Buckinghamshire social services, which included allegations by residents of bestiality. These were not passed on by social workers to police until this week - several months after they were made. Social workers and former members of staff at the homes, fearing a cover-up by Buckinghamshire, have leaked witness statements to the Independent.

Buckinghamshire County Council compiled a confidential internal report into allegations of abuse last June and denies that there has been a cover-up. The report, by the social services inspections unit, was passed to police, but did not include any allegations of bestiality or video- making. Police said at the time there was insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal inquiry. The council has allowed the homes to remain open, saying that Gordon and Angela Rowe have no connection with them and that the present management has made improvements.

Buckinghamshire last night denied claims made by former members of staff at the homes that social workers encouraged them not to report allegations of bestiality.