Family to sue 'abuse' home

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

RELATIVES of a mentally handicapped woman alleged to have been made to eat outside in winter by the owners of a residential home said yesterday they were going to sue on her behalf.

Bill Goddard read a copy of the social services inspectors' report, revealed in the Independent, and discovered a reference to 'JG', his sister Jacqui, 47, who has Down's syndrome and experiences difficulties with eating, and a passage alleging that she was force-fed by Gordon Rowe and his wife, Angela, who ran the homes.

Yesterday, he contacted a Lydia Sinclair, solicitor specialising in cases of abuse, and they plan to visit Jacqui next week at the home, Stoke Place Mansion House, run by Longcare Ltd, which has been allowed to remain open despite the damning report.

Ms Sinclair said there appeared to be grounds to sue Longcare and its former directors, Mr and Mrs Rowe, for negligence on the basis of the information in the Buckinghamshire County Council report.

Mr Goddard described his reaction when he read the report: 'I felt completely devastated. I went absolutely potty and flung the newspaper across the room.'

Ms Sinclair said any action for negligence would involve showing that those responsible for Jacqui had failed to fulfil their duty of care towards her.

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