A doctor in Derbyshire, England, reportedly physically assaulted and sexually abused hundreds of children after giving them a truth serum that immobilized them.
Dr. Kenneth Milner, who ran the NHS-funded Aston Hall psychiatric hospital from 1947 to 1975, would have been arrested and interviewed for child rape and cruelty on children as young as 10, said a police report, if he had been alive today. Unfortunately, he died 45 years ago, decades before nightmarish tales from his former patients came to light.
Milner, a certified Home Office doctor, was given free rein over Aston Hall for over three decades and held a lot of influence over his staff as well as society. The hospital opened for people with learning difficulties in 1925 but later became a treatment center for psychological issues.
The victims — who were placed there by 50 local authorities, were sent from broken homes, children’s shelters and courts —described the experience as “pure hell.”
Most children said they were given a drug that left them in a semi-conscious state, after which they were stripped bare and abused. Others said they were restrained and experimented upon under the pretext of correcting “deviant behavior.” Many survivors, who have recently come forward said, they genuinely believed going with the doctor’s scheme was the only way to escape the hospital.
It is now revealed the evil doctor carried out “Narcoanalysis,” a procedure that involved drugging a patient in order “to recall and disclose thoughts and feelings they would normally conceal.” Milner injected the children with sodium amytal, a drug with sedative-hypnotic properties, which should never be used on children and can leave patients with false memories, critics argue. Narcoanalysis was also never seen as a medically accepted treatment.
Electric shock treatment was reportedly a permanent threat and there were wild rumors that some children died when the procedure would go wrong. When they weren’t being tortured, the children were administered by a “toothbrush treatment,” which would involve them being forced to clean skirting boards with toothbrush. Some victims claimed they were also placed in straitjackets and had their heads doused in water.
The police report said the offenses may have included “rape, indecent assault contrary to the Sexual Offences Act 1956, Child Cruelty and Assault contrary to Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and Offences Against the Person act 1861 respectively.”
Stephen Edwards, from law firm Bond Turner, which is representing 47 survivors from 1960s and 1970s, said the “horrific treatment" had "undoubtedly caused permanent, damaging effects.”
One of the Milner’s alleged victim, Jason Stubbings, was sent to Aston Hall in the 1960s when he was 14 years old. He claims he remembers being injected by a “truth drug” as well as another drug not known to him, which made him lose consciousness. When he came around, his hands were tied and his body was covered with marks.
He also said he remembers gazing out of the window and seeing “a guy in the exercise yard in a straightjacket screaming.”
“It said on the administration form 'a slight timid boy' and they did that to me,” he said.
Barbara O’Hare, another one of Milner’s former patients, also claimed she was hideously abused by the doctor. The then 12-year-old spent eight months in the Laburnum Ward at Aston Hall after coming from a troubled household. She claimed Milner exposed her private parts and then took photographs of her.
“They took some when they were doing whatever it was they did to me,” she recounted. “I remember that vividly. I'd been drugged. The doctor had held the mask with the ether on it over my face, and I was drifting in and out of consciousness, but I remember the camera flashing over and over again. I was on my back at that point. The hospital gown had been pulled up around my waist, exposing my private parts. I remember the light burning into my eyes, and not being able to scream or shout.”
“The truth is we were human toys. We were a piece of meat for someone to play with, behind closed doors. And this man – this monster – was supposed to be protecting us,” she added.
It has also been claimed the infamous pedophile, DJ Jimmy Savile, was also a regular guest at the hospital, according to a victim. It is not confirmed the two men knew each other but they were both linked to several hospitals. Milner was also once a medical officer at high-security Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire in 1940, where Savile also had his own keys and free access to the hospital. He sexually assaulted victims there too, repeatedly.
Police said if Milner were alive, there would have been “sufficient evidence” to pursue a case.
Police heard account from 65 alleged victims, found 115 witness statements and recorded 77 crimes, including 40 sexual assault cases.
"There would have been sufficient evidence to justify interviewing Dr Milner under caution in relation to a number of potential offences,” the police report stated.
Derbyshire Safeguarding Children board said the treatment of children since that time has radically changed and if a similar situation arose today, the victims have clear ways to voice their concerns.
A spokesman at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said the report was “truly harrowing reading and shines a light on the decades of sickening abuse… It is crucial that lessons continue to be learned from shocking cases like this.”
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