Beckenham: Bethlem boss should resign over escapes, says councillor

09:52 21 March 2012

Cllr Nicholas Bennett

Cllr Nicholas Bennett


The chairman of South London and Maudsley Trust should resign after the escape of four violent teenagers from a mental health unit, a councillor has claimed.

West Wickham Cllr Nicholas Bennett said it was time for Madeline Long to stand down and accused her of failing to engage with Bromley Council in her six-year term at the trust, which manages Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham, from where the four boys aged 16 to 18 absconded on February 26.

The 10-bed Bill Yule unit in Monks Orchard Road has been suspended while an investigation takes place. It is uncertain whether it will ever reopen.

The council held a meeting with Ms Long and chief executive Stuart Bell last Tuesday.

Cllr Bennett told the Bromley Times: “We call Madeline Long the invisible woman. She has never engaged with the council or the leader, Stephen Carr. I asked her and Stuart Bell whether it was time to reconsider their positions, but they said no.

“I certainly think it’s time for Madeline Long to resign. What is she being paid for?”

Beckenham MP Bob Stewart raised the issue in parliament last week and discovered that there had been eight escapes and eight incidents of patients absconding while on escorted leave since the unit opened in 2004.

He said: “I don’t expect the Bill Yule unit to be reopened unless, or until, it is as secure as the River House adult facility, which has never had an escape since it opened in 2008.”

Mr Bennett said he was especially concerned as nobody was able to tell him whether the window had been smashed, jemmied or removed, more than two weeks after the incident.

A trust spokesman refused to comment on the resignation calls but said: “We take this incident very seriously and we apologise for the concern it has caused the local community.

“We have suspended the service whilst an external investigation is undertaken. This will look at how the incident happened and all aspects of how the unit operates, including security arrangements.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest Crime news

Friday, November 27, 2015
The youth attacked the women in Parliament Hill

A 16-year-old who bit a woman’s groin on Hampstead Heath, hit a man with a claw hammer and carried out violent and sexual assaults will serve just one year in jail.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Do you recognise this man? (Picture: British Transport Police)

A large gang of young men surrounded a 17-year-old girl in West Ham Tube station and threw her to the floor in a frightening incident, British Transport Police (BTP) said today.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Police cordoned off the pavement outside the Vodafone store in Finchley Road

The pavement outside a parade of shops on Finchley Road has been cordoned off after knife raiders threatened staff at a branch of Vodafone and made off with thousands of pounds worth of mobile phones.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Police have released images of two men they would like to speak to after a woman was raped in Brixton last year (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

A young woman said she was raped after accepting a lift on leaving a Brixton club last year and today police have released images of men they would like to speak to about the attack.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
A child can be seen being manhandled by a person who appears to be a Subway worker in the video posted online (Picture: YouTube/Kyss McQueen)

Alarming footage of boys trying to smash their way into a north London Subway branch to release their friend - who appears to be locked inside and forcibly held by a Subway worker - has gone viral on social media.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Vasilaki Kakko, a teenage boy who was stabbed to death in Holloway

A boy stabbed near Caledonian Road Tube station in Holloway, north London, has been named by police as Vasilaki Kakko.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Read more

You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Read more

Latest Tech News