Nurses warned on escape of killers

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The Independent Online
THREE members of staff at Broadmoor were given written warnings over the escape of two sex killers in the space of 24 hours.

The action was welcomed by union officials who had feared their disciplinary hearings could have ended with dismissal. But they called for a government inquiry into the running of the top security psychiatric hospital at Crowthorne, Berkshire, which houses some of Britain's most dangerous criminals.

The Prison Officers' Association believes the nursing staff involved were made scapegoats over the two escapes and says procedures for escorted trips by patients should be tightened.

Two of the staff, who are members of the Royal College of Nursing, were given six-month written warnings and the other 18 months. Another worker - belonging to the POA - was completely exonerated. A further three POA members face disciplinary action.

The hearings followed the escape of Anthony Pilditch, who was at large for a week after being taken on a Christmas shopping trip and Kenneth Erskine, who fled while on a hospital visit the next day.

Pilditch is said to have plotted his bid for freedom for eight years and to have had pounds 1,000 stashed in his shoes and jewellery worth pounds 6,000 on him when he vanished.

Yesterday Frank Mone, chairman of the POA at Broadmoor, said: 'No dismissals have taken place, which we are extremely grateful for. But we have grave cause for concern over the way staff were suspended and the way the inquiry was carried out. It seems the management are beyond reproach and we are made to shoulder the blame for mistakes.

'We are concerned about procedures and policies and want a government inquiry into the security and management of the hospital.'