Man 'was forced into sex with animals': Tim Kelsey and Ian MacKinnon report on allegations of bestiality at a residential home in Buckinghamshire

A mentally handicapped resident at a Buckinghamshire home at the centre of controversy over allegations of physical and sexual abuse claimed that he was forced to take part in sex acts with animals, while being videotaped by a member of staff.

The new allegation comes a week after the Independent first disclosed that residents at the two homes, Stoke Place and Stoke Green in Stoke Poges, were being brutalised, raped and assaulted.

Since then, many anxious relatives and former members of staff have contacted this newspaper after learning for the first time of the allegations. Several of the relatives are now preparing to sue Buckinghamshire County Council for negligence. But nothing that has so far been disclosed prepared them for the fresh claims of bestiality. One former member of staff said yesterday: 'I did not know. I really didn't'

Documents in the possession of the Independent show that former staff members reported these allegations to Buckinghamshire social services several months ago. One witness states: 'On this occasion X came over, which I think was something to do with feeding the animals. He started off by saying that he didn't like (a member of staff) and later said that it was because of the things (the staff member) wanted him to do. He said it was the animals, and I asked him about this, because I thought he liked the animals.

'He said that it was what he had to do with the animals. I asked him what he meant he said: 'You know, like a man and a woman' and he then said 'it's a man and the animals with me'. I asked him who told him to do these things, and he said: '(the staff member) because he wants to use his video camera'.'

The statement goes on: 'X was scared stiff of doing anything wrong. I asked him what he meant by this and he said: 'I have to do things in the cottage so that (the member of staff) can use his camera, and sometimes I have to do things with (a female member of staff).'

The ex-staff member also claims that Angela Rowe, at the time a co-director of the private company which manages the homes, and wife of Gordon Rowe, the company chairman, masturbated a resident. 'Angie was helping because we were short-staffed. I had run out of soap or toothpaste, so I went to look for her. I knew she was in Y's room, so I walked in and I saw her masturbating Y.

'I said to her: 'Oh, that's disgusting'. She was very annoyed that I had walked in and caught her in what she was doing. She then gave me a mouthful telling me to bloody well get on with my work. There was another resident in the room who was attempting to wash himself while she was doing this to Y'

Serious allegations of sexual abuse, which were not forwarded to the police until this week, are also included in the statement. The former member of staff who gave the statement said: 'At the moment, I feel very ashamed that I've worked there, though it was all reported to the social services, and nothing was done. I feel that Gordon Rowe has done such a lot of wicked things that he should be punished. And as for Angie, she's a disgusting woman.'

Buckinghamshire has allowed the homes to remain open - despite its decision not to send any of its clients to them in future - on the basis that Gordon and Angela Rowe are now longer involved in their management. Nigel, their son, and Ray Cradock are the current managers.

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