Beckenham: Bethlem boss should resign over escapes, says councillor

09:52 21 March 2012

Cllr Nicholas Bennett

Cllr Nicholas Bennett

Archant

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
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Crime news

Monday, May 25, 2015

A 13-year old girl was raped by a man after meeting him the day before in Camden.

Friday, May 22, 2015
The woman was dragged through the gates of Brockwell Park in Brixton and raped

A 41-year-old woman was dragged into Brockwell Park in Herne Hill, near Brixton, before being raped by two men.

Friday, May 22, 2015
Three people were injured in the violent burglary

Three people were viciously attacked by a trio of burglars wielding hammers, knives and crowbars at the General Elliott pub in St John’s Road, Uxbridge.

Thursday, May 21, 2015
A man and a woman were assaulted at this quiet train station in Enfield [Photograph from Google StreetView]

Two men have been arrested after a young couple were pushed onto the train tracks at Turkey Street station on Thursday April 2.

Thursday, May 21, 2015
The man was attacked as he waited for the Tube at West Ham station [Photograph by Chris McKenna]

A man was injured in an unprovoked attack with a makeshift knuckleduster at West Ham Tube station, and British Transport Police (BTP) are appealing for witnesses.

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Chief Inspector Paul Cahill will appear in court

A top gay police officer who was awarded an MBE has been summonsed to court today on drugs charges.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Read more