My blog post ‘St Georges’s Hospital Medical School, 1989/1990…’ describes the chaos and conflict that pervaded that institution whilst I was working there and also details how those charming characters from the north Wales mental health services had contacts there who, unbeknown to me, were busy taking an interest in me as soon as I arrived. Previous blog posts have described the numerous enormous well-organised efforts that the north Wales mental health services had made to have me declared ‘dangerous’ and imprisoned – although their own lawyer from the Welsh Office, Andrew Park, whilst preparing for yet another court case against me, had to remind them that they couldn’t continue to refer to my ‘assaults on staff’ in legal documents, because there was no evidence that any such assaults had taken place.
The mental health services had not yet given up. In the winter of 1990/91, they made constant complaints about me to the police. One day I answered the door in London to find two plain clothes police officers telling me that they’d been asked to arrest me for ‘threats to kill’. I spent several days in a cell in London without being charged, not being told what was going on. Whenever I challenged them over this, police officers simply maintained that they were legally allowed to detain people for this long without charge and if I had been arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act they could detain me for even longer. I was told that the delay was because the North Wales Police wanted to interview me and the Met were waiting for police from north Wales to arrive and transport me back to Bangor. But before all this hanging about in cells, I’d had a very interesting conversation with one of these policemen. When I arrived at the station in south London, the place was swimming with detectives talking in cockneyish police rhyming slang, all rather reminiscent of something out of ‘The Bill’. They were full of bravado and were chatting away about their various activities. One of them had heard that I was being transported back to north Wales and that I owned a house near Bethesda and he told me that he knew Bethesda well because he had been stationed in north Wales. He then started boasting about how he and his colleagues used to rough up the locals who had been arrested and throw them in Llyn Ogwen and if ‘Geoff was on the bench’ no questions would ever be asked. This was a reference to Geoff, the landlord of the Douglas Arms in Bethesda, a rather odd man who was known principally for using old money in his pub – Geoff didn’t hold with decimalisation. But Geoff also sat as a Magistrate and obviously had a cosy arrangement with local policemen who were bending the rules. The reference to chucking people in Llyn Ogwen was certainly interesting, because I could remember instances of local young men being found drowned in Llyn Ogwen and no-one could work out what had happened – the men in question weren’t outdoor activity enthusiasts who did used to go swimming in the lake, they were young men who’d been out with their mates for the evening. Llyn Ogwen is several miles away from Bethesda out in the mountains, there were no buses out there and young men like that simply never went out to Llyn Ogwen. Nonetheless some of them had been found dead in the lake.
I was eventually taken back to north Wales – by two really nice officers actually who came down from Bangor and did all they could to make the whole process as comfortable as they could – and ended up being charged with ‘threatening to kill’ a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist in question was Dr X’s wife from Ysbyty Gwynedd – as described in previous blog posts, Dr X was one of the key movers and shakers behind the attempts to declare me dangerous and imprison me. My lawyer explained to me that his biggest problem was that the prosecution was opposing bail – on the grounds of my enormous dangerousness of course – and much was made of this in court. I remember the prosecution stressing that everyone was so terrified of me that Dr X and his family had been given ‘compassionate leave’ by Gwynedd Health Authority and that a ‘safe house’ had been made available for them to use if I was given bail. Yet as described in previous blog posts, documents that are now in my possession reveal that the only ‘evidence’ of my dangerousness were unfounded allegations made by Dr X himself and Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, allegations made after I had gained evidence of them breaking the law and had made complaint. Indeed Dr X and his wife had been told by their own lawyers that they seemed to be ‘over-reacting’ and had been advised not to take legal action against me. My lawyer also told me that Gwynedd Health Authority had put massive pressure on the police to arrest me and numerous complaints and telephone calls had been made to the police. My lawyer did manage to get me bail – he was most concerned that there were plans to have me held in Risley Remand Centre, a notoriously grim institution rife with suicides and allegations of staff assaults on inmates. By this time of course, Dafydd Alun Jones had threatened me with arrest and detention in Risley Remand Centre if I did not drop my complaints about him – and this was now the second time since he made those threats that I was faced with possible incarceration in Risley Remand Centre on the basis of allegations made by colleagues of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. The hearing was in front of Magistrates in Caernarfon, who for once, incredibly, considering that they were Magistrates in north Wales, seemed to be most concerned about what was going on and made it quite clear that they did not think that putting me in Risley Remand Centre was a good idea. My lawyer had helped considerably by reminding them just how bad Risley Remand Centre was, that I was suffering from depression and that I would be far better off living in London sharing a house with my friends, one of whom was a doctor anyway.
So I returned to London, with bail conditions to sign on each evening at Tooting Police Station and not to return to north Wales until the next hearing (which was scheduled for the end of January). Which did of course mean that I was banned from my own house near Bethesda, where I usually spent weekends and holidays. However, something odd kept happening with regard to the charges against me – they were changing on an almost daily basis. Some were being withdrawn, others were being added and it was quite difficult to keep up with it all. But the charge of ‘threats to kill’ hung over me constantly.
Back in London in January my GP referred me to the local mental health team for depression – I was by now off work sick. Now the fun really began. My memories of all this were of being visited at home in London by Dr Robin Jacobson, a psychiatrist from Springfield Hospital (the psychiatric hospital attached to St Georges) who advised me to go into Springfield immediately as a voluntary patient. Springfield Hospital was very mediocre, despite all the PR puff emanating from the academic psychiatry dept at St Georges. Physical conditions on the ward were poor and there was a lot of patient neglect – patients were generally ignored by most staff. On several occasions, something very worrying indeed happened – at night, the ONE member of staff left in charge of this ward went away for several hours to visit his mates on another ward, leaving us locked in. (This was supposedly an open ward.) I was aware that at least one male patient on our ward was on remand for a sex offence and another one had murdered his wife. There was one girl on our ward who was under 18. But there we all were, locked in together at night with no member of staff. There were a few other worrying things as well – there was a very aggressive patient on the ward whose activities towards the other patients were ignored because, it was alleged, her family had connections to medical staff in the hospital. Two other patients discharged themselves because of this patient and the staff’s failure to manage her behaviour. Another patient, who was suicidal and depressed, was told that he was being discharged because he had been ‘very rude’ to a nurse. There were two other patients in there as well whom I made friends with who told extraordinary stories – which did not seem to be fantasy. One was a woman who had worked as a secretary at Scotland Yard. She had had a ‘nervous breakdown’ and had been in Springfield for many months. She shook physically all the time. Eventually she told me why she was in such a state – she had been raped by her boss, a senior officer at Scotland Yard. He had given her a lift home from work, accepted her invitation to come in for a cup of tea and had raped her in her own sitting room. She had never reported this because she knew that she ‘wouldn’t stand a chance’ against a senior officer. She was now too frightened to stay in her house and was receiving ’counselling’ from the same nurse who had discharged the suicidal man for being ‘very rude’ to her – she did not rate this nurse very highly and felt that she had no understanding at all of her fear at being alone at home. She was particularly anxious because this nurse kept telling her that she wasn’t ‘facing up to her problems’ and wanted to discharge her. Presumably her ex-boss at Scotland Yard knew where she lived… The other patient who seemed to be in a dreadful position was a lady who had been the subject of a forced marriage to a very violent man, who had maintained that she was ‘mad’ – this lady had been sectioned by her GP and a psychiatrist at Springfield. No-one seemed to have taken into account the effect that her husband might be having on her – because she had been sectioned, he now had custody of the children and he used to periodically arrive in the hospital bringing the children to visit. After every visit she would be in floods of tears, which everybody presumed was a result of her seeing the children and being reminded of how much she missed them. However, she told me that during these visits her husband would threaten to kill her – because no-one on the ward spoke the same language no-one actually understood the content of their conversations… Another noticeable patient on the ward was the teenage girl whom I previously mentioned. It was said that she had a rare neurodegenerative disorder and was terminally ill. I did not ever see her receive any visitors. Every night she would stay up very late watching TV and drinking pots and pots of tea until she was physically sick. She would then fill up with more tea. The night staff – when they weren’t popping off next door leaving us locked in – were witnessing all this and completely ignoring it. One night, one of the other patients questioned the nurse (if indeed she was a qualified nurse) about this. She snapped at him ‘don’t tell me how to do my job’. She then commented that the teenage girl was ‘very difficult’ and was going to die anyway. This was a hospital that prided itself as being at the forefront of ‘service user involvement’ and we would all be invited to regular meetings to make our ‘contribution’. At one meeting, nearly every patient raised the issue of the very aggressive patient alleged to have connections with the medical staff. The ward manager became very angry and shouted at everyone that this was not going to be discussed. I observed that this was a strange sort of democracy. I was later told not to attend any more ‘service user’ meetings. I hadn’t even mentioned the woman who’d been raped and was being terrorised by a nasty narcisstic little nurse, or the patient who was regularly being visited by a man who was threatening to kill her…
As for me and my ‘care’, my first encounter was an interview with a psychiatrist called Dr Ruth White. I felt that she was quite hostile to me – the interview was brief and I remember her stating categorically that I wouldn’t be staying at Springfield because I worked at St George’s and that I would therefore be transferred to the Maudsley. Some days later, a man from the Maudsley, Dr Paul Bowden, did come to see me, along with a nurse. He told me that there were plans to transfer me but that there ‘had been a tragedy on the ward’, that the ward had to be closed and thus I couldn’t be transferred to the Maudsley at present. I heard no more until some two weeks later when I was told that Dr Bowden had now said that because I’d made friends at Springfield it was best that I remained there. Ruth White seemed very cross that I was to remain and now became overtly hostile and unpleasant towards me. I was largely ignored by the nurses – except for the rather confrontational ward manager, as Australian woman called Stephanie, who occasionally shouted and swore at me, but then she did that to everyone. There was however one very nice mixed race nurse there who did actually talk to the patients and spent time with them. One day she spontaneously said to me ‘I guess you must be feeling really awful. None of the nurses wanted this to happen to you and none of this is your fault’. I had no idea what she was referring to but I had been wondering what it was that I’d done to upset them all.
After three weeks of being largely ignored except for the occasional sweary outburst from Stephanie, Robin Jacobson’s registrar, a Dr Alice Levinson, told me that I was going to be discharged. I had received no ‘counselling’ and no ‘medication’. I had just sat in Springfield for three weeks. I had not had to appear in person in court in Bangor at the end of January because I was in hospital – however I was pleading not guilty. There was word from my solicitor that the charges against me were going to be withdrawn anyway. I was by now utterly sick of London and all that was in it and had decided that the north Wales mental health services were going to make my life difficult wherever I was so I might as well be in Wales anyway, in my house near mountains and scenery and well away from a bunch of vacuous social climbers in London. (I was of course completely unaware of the lengths that the mental health services were going to behind the scenes.) After I left Springfield I do not remember any ‘aftercare’ or further appointments with Jacobson or his team. I did however receive one further appointment – with a forensic psychiatrist at St George’s, a Dr Nigel Eastman. I remember this appointment well. I was interviewed by Dr Nigel Eastman and a female doctor, a Dr Bartlett. I told Dr Eastman of the events in north Wales (as I had told Robin Jacobson), but I did also tell him that I didn’t like London and that I missed Snowdonia. He told me that he thought that I ought to go back to north Wales. I never saw him again and I did indeed very shortly after that move back to north Wales permanently – my bail conditions had been lifted because all charges against me had been dropped.
Much of what happened to me in Springfield remained a mystery for years. However, when my lawyers obtained my medical records, there was some documentation from Springfield that made interesting reading. Two weeks ago I received further documentation – and it has built up a very worrying picture.
The newly released documents give me some idea of what was happening behind the scenes in London – and explains a few things that have always puzzled me.
On Jan 16 1991, Dr Robin Jacobson (Consultant Psychiatrist, Springfield Hospital), wrote a letter to my GP in London, after Jacobson had visited me at home and advised me to enter Springfield as a voluntary patient. He wrote that I had ‘described what is either a complex, well-systematised paranoid delusional system or the truth, or an awful mixture of the two…I read Dr Tom Burns’s letter on her…[Burns commented] that she had an oversensitive personality and perhaps a paranoid personality disorder…it is very difficult to know where the truth lies, but her long list of complaints included allegations that Dr Jones and Dr X had sexually abused patients…had done all sorts of things and she had succeeded in making a formal complaint against Dr Jones and his colleagues…resulted in a formal investigation by Professor Bluglass, Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at Birmingham, who…had genuine criticisms of the hospital set-up in north Wales and Dr Jones admitted this on the phone to me. Nevertheless she has caused chaos. Professor Bluglass stated informally that she had a homicidal capacity as did another forensic psychiatrist at a case conference….she has broken into Dr Jones’s consulting room and threatened Dr Jones in such a way that he believed that he would be killed…it is difficult to know how to help her…’
So Jacobson knew that a formal complaint of mine against Jones et al had been upheld – yet he went to those very same people for ‘information’ about me. He does mention in his letter that I was either deluded or could have been telling the truth – so perhaps Jacobson thought that he was dealing with someone who was seriously ill and who had indeed ‘caused chaos’? That I really had broken into Jones’s consulting room and almost slayed him on the spot (although I wonder why on earth I hadn’t been arrested for this, particularly given the penchant Jones et al had for having me arrested…), that the esteemed Prof Bluglass and ‘another forensic psychiatrist’ really did believe that I had a ‘homicidal capacity’ and that Tom Burns was giving on an honest clinical opinion (please see blog post ‘Networking…’ for details of my meeting with Tom Burns).
Well Jacobson wrote another letter on Jan 16 1991, this time to Dr Nigel Eastman (Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, St George’s Hospital). He requests from Eastman ‘a fairly urgent opinion on an extremely difficult, potentially very dangerous patient, who has brought the psychiatric services of north Wales to their knees…I know little of her background….and have spoken to a Consultant Psychiatrist in Wales, a Dr Jones, who has given me some of the background….the [police] charges seemed to have changed from day-to-day or become multiple charges….Dr X and his wife…have threatened to leave the area so depressed are they by her clever and persistent harassment of them…Dr Jones is also at his wit’s end…she has most trust in her GP, an eminent GP, David Wood, in Bangor. She has come under the care of Dr Jones, who was trained by Bob Hobson at the Maudsley…[Jones] treats personality disorders the Bob Hobson ie. psychotherapeutic, way and is reluctant to make a formal diagnosis, such as schizophrenia or psychosis, he said yesterday. She has accused Dr Jones…of abusing [his patients], sexually abusing them, accused him of corruption, accused Dr X of the same things…broken into Dr Jones’s consulting room…such that he believed that he would die then and there….she has behaved similarly to other doctors. She told me that she had various witnesses to Dr Jones’s sexual abuse of them…loads….who can attest to what would seem to be his malpractice. She secured a formal complaints procedure against Dr Jones and Dr X. Professor Bluglass…came to investigate….found genuine criticisms. Dr Jones was very angry he said…about Professor Bluglass’s conclusions and criticisms….where the truth lies I know not…I felt very depressed about taking her on…Dr Jones and allegedly Dr X seem to have a soft spot for her, describing her as attractive and seductive….what became apparent to me was a lack of boundaries in the treatment….a lack of boundaries in the account given to me about who was speaking to who about what…Professor Bluglass is said to have stated off the record that she has a homicidal capacity and will end up as a criminal psychopath in a special hospital. At a case conference, Dr Chris Hunter, Forensic Psychiatrist, Cardiff, who did not see her, concluded on reported evidence that she had a marked homicidal capacity Dr Jones said…I found her to be deeply distressed…suicide risk is probably high…please would you…care to assess her and advise…particularly with regard to her alleged homicidal capacity and the ability to cause chaos and persecution of psychiatrists – at least in the set-up extant in north Wales’.
So Jacobson had very obviously smelt a rat – when psychiatrists/psychotherapists talk about ‘a lack of boundaries’ they mean that the doctor is having sex with the patients. Jacobson very clearly thought that this was what was happening here (well Jones had happily described me as ‘attractive and seductive’). So Jacobson, who did not know me, nonetheless relied upon ‘information’ provided by a man whom he thought was having sex with me – a man whom I had complained about and who had been criticised in the wake of a formal complaint and who had told Jacobson that he was very angry about this. Jacobson’s anxieties regarding what might have been going on in Wales are revealed further by his use of the phrase ‘in the set-up extant in north Wales’. Alarm bells were clearly ringing very loudly in Jacobson’s ears, which was probably why he felt ‘very depressed’ about taking me on. Yet there are other clues here that something very nasty was happening that any intelligent person could have spotted – the police charges against me were changing on a daily basis, Dr X was said to be thinking of leaving the area because of me, yet was also described as someone who had ‘a soft spot’ for me (and another one who’d lost sight of his boundaries), a GP in a grotty little surgery in Bangor was described as ‘eminent’ – yet Jacobson knew that this man was not actually my GP because he had already communicated with my GP in London, so who did Jacobson think that the ‘eminent’ David Wood was? Oh and the glorious Dr Chris Hunter, another person who had assessed me as homicidal had not actually seen me, but was working from ‘reported evidence’ (please see blog post ‘The Night of the (Dr Chris) Hunter’ for my account of the extraordinary events regarding Hunter and his ‘case conference’). Didn’t Jacobson wonder who might have been ‘reporting’ this ‘evidence’? Jacobson himself found me to be ‘deeply distressed’ and a high suicide risk – I wonder whatever could have been upsetting me so much. (My only regret is that I hadn’t actually brought the psychiatric services in north Wales to their knees – it was clear from the number of times that I was being arrested on their say-so in the face of zero evidence and from the fact that I was now being ‘assessed’ by some of the nation’s ‘leading’ forensic psychiatrists as a potential murderer that it was very much business as usual for the psychiatric services in north Wales.)
But Jacobson was a very busy man. On Jan 16 1991 he didn’t just telephone Dafydd Alun Jones, write to my GP in London and to Dr Nigel Eastman – he also telephoned Dr X and wrote/dictated three other letters as well.
One of these letters was to Robert Bluglass. In his letter to Bluglass, Jacobson states that he understands that I am ‘extremely dangerous’ and I have ‘managed to elude any mechanisms which could protect others’ (well court cases did keep collapsing because no-one could actually produce any evidence that I’d done much more than write letters of complaint about some psychiatrists who had been involved in criminal activities and very serious malpractice). Jacobson states in this letter that Dr X had told him that ‘he and his wife and numerous others are so frightened of her that they dare not substantiate evidence against her’. Which obviously explains why they all had made statement after statement to the police about me, had me arrested repeatedly, had taken me to the High Court on a number of occasions and had led a co-ordinated effort along with the Welsh Office, the BMA , the Medical Defence Union and the Mental Health Act Commission to have me denounced as dangerous and imprisoned or incarcerated in a secure hospital. It was because they were all too frightened to whisper a word against me. Jacobson asks Bluglass for any information ‘which you feel would be relevant. You may of course prefer to contact Dr Nigel Eastman direct, who should be initially familiar with this case within about a week’. This letter was copied to Eastman.
On the same day, Jacobson’s secretary, Angela Pumfrey, sent a letter to that ‘eminent’ GP, who actually hadn’t been my GP for about three or four years – the man who had originally referred me to Dr T. Gwynne Williams the lobotomist some seven years previously, Dr DGE Wood. She informs Wood that I had been admitted to Springfield for ‘depression and possible paranoid ideas in relation to her long list of complaints about her treatment in north west Wales’. So Jacobson had now passed on confidential medical info about me to a man whom I had no clinical involvement with, whom he knew was not my GP and who was a close colleague of those who had lost their boundaries and whom I had complained about. So what info did Jacobson want from the eminent friend of a lobotomist? Well he was after ‘information documenting her alleged dangerousness’ of course. But Jacobson had thought of everything – lest DGE Wood was, like so many others, about to be murdered in his bed if he uttered a word about me, Jacobson states that if he wants, Wood can discuss me over the phone, all he has to do is bleep Dr Alice Levinson or Dr Ruth White. I presume that this is indeed what happened, because I have not yet found Wood’s letter of reply. So he could have told Levinson and White pretty much anything about me and indeed probably did.
Angela Pumfrey sent yet another letter on Jan 16 as well – to Lucille Hughes, Director of Gwynedd Social Services. Who had never met me – but who was an ex-girlfriend of the boundaryless Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and a central figure in co-ordinating attempts to imprison me. Lucille has of course since become famous for being named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services in north Wales but failing to act. Why did Angela write to Lucille Hughes of all people? Well according to Angela’s letter, ‘Dr X suggested that I contact you with great urgency to get a summary of your involvement with [me] who I hope will soon come as a voluntary patient…we know nothing about [me], except that [I am] said to be dangerous. We would be grateful if you could send us information…particularly documenting dangerousness.’ So Dr X, who had been involved in my complaint, recommended Lucille, the ex-girlfriend of Dafydd who I had complained about and the Director of Gwynedd Social Services who I had complained about, as a source of info regarding my dangerousness. As Lucille had previously been instrumental in inciting a social worker, one Keith Fearns, to swear an Affidavit for the High Court regarding the danger that I posed to his colleagues when he’d never met me either, no doubt Dr X was confident that she’d be able to deliver on this. The ever helpful Angela once more makes it easy for those charmers in north Wales and says ‘if you prefer to send us information from social worker to social worker, please do not hesitate to contact the Team Leader of our social work dept at Springfield Hospital rather than me’. This letter was copied to the Team Leader of the Social Work Dept at St Georges. So the Director of a Social Services Dept that was not giving me a service and never did give me a service and had been infiltrated by a vicious paedophile ring to boot was being asked to send info regarding my dangerousness in the wake of me complaining about one of her fancymen breaking the law to another social work team who was also not giving me a service, never had done and none of whose members had ever met me. Que??
Did Robin Jacobson really not understand what he might have been facilitating here?
The Springfield documentation recently released to me contains a file note, dated the 17 Jan 1991. This note states that Dr Paul Bowden ‘called back again’. Bowden was calling to say that he’d be coming to visit me on ‘Monday at 9 o’clock’. He was asking Springfield to fax him ‘as much background information as possible, because he was leaving to go to Brixton Prison now’. There was a handwritten message on this letter saying ‘attached letters faxed through to Dr Bowden 17/1/91’. Dr Bowden was a leading forensic psychiatrist in London at that time and was no doubt popping off down to Brixton Prison to visit a prisoner in order to ‘assess’ them with a view to making some crucial decision regarding whether they should be kept in prison, transferred to hospital (including the possibility of a high security hospital) or given bail. The documents that I now have in my possession suggest that rather than visiting people in prison, Dr Bowden and a few others should probably have been in prison themselves.
However, Jacobson’s hard work was paying off. One the 18 Jan, Lucille Hughes replied to his letter, telling him that she had forwarded his letter to ‘Mr Keith Fearns my Senior Social Worker [Lucille helpfully supplies Fearns’s phone number]…I am sure he will co-ordinate the production of a report from the multi-disciplinary team [ie. the Arfon Community Mental Health Team who were not giving me a service and most of whom I’d never met]’. Lucille also states that she has copied Jacobson’s letter to ‘our County Secretary and Solicitor. I am sure that the Solicitor in the legal section who has factual information on the legal aspects of your enquiry will be pleased to correspond with you direct’. This letter was copied to Keith Fearns and the County Secretary, FAO Mr Ron Evans. Regular readers of the blog following this part of my story will remember that it was Ron Evans, a solicitor at Gwynedd County Council, whom Lucille seemed to have a hotline to and who seemed to be instrumental in collecting the ‘evidence’ that Fearns had been previously gathering about me on the occasions when Lucille seemed to want to take me to court…
In February, I was discharged from Springfield. By this time it was clear that all the police charges against me were going to be dropped. I now have a copy of the discharge letter from Springfield that Dr Alice Levinson wrote on Feb 7 1991. Once more it rehashes all the florid allegations made by people in north Wales regarding my attempts to murder them in cold blood, despite there being no evidence at all to support any of these allegations. However, there are a few interesting lines in this letter. Levinson notes that I ‘wondered why people in general were not doing more about the psychiatrists in north Wales. [I have] persecutory ideas thinking that people were against [me], but realises that this was probably because [I] complained about them…[I] described therefore sensitive ideas of reference as well as paranoid ideas’. However Levinson then goes onto say that ‘no paranoid delusions were elicited. There was no abnormality in the possession or form of [my] thought’. She then lists a lot of symptoms of mental illness which she states that I do not have. Levinson maintains that ‘[I have] had difficulties with previous psychiatric involvement where the boundaries were not clear enough for [me]’. So Dafydd’s ‘lack of boundaries’ was my fault then… Better still I ‘operated by processes of projection and splitting’. (Quite frankly Alice, never mind asinine notions of projection and splitting, I’m surprised that I wasn’t driven completely and permanently insane by the lot of you.) She continues ‘Dr Bowden…thought that [I] had a severe paranoid personality disorder…treatment better managed as an out-patient…[I] probably could not use any insight orientated therapy constructively and warned that [I] might use such therapy destructively….outpatient management consisting of support to offer containment…Dr Bowden thought that it was not necessary for [me] to be transferred to the Maudsley but…done in liaison with the forensic dept at St Georges…[I] accused Dr Jacobson of collaborating with Dr Jones…[I] thought the psychiatrists in Wales would persecute [me] wherever [I] lived…it is thought that [my] previous depressed feelings may have been a reaction to the acute stress that [I] was suffering…[I] may continue to feel very paranoid and persecuted by the psychiatrists in north Wales and it is thought that [I have] a homicidal capacity as well as having a long-term high suicide risk’…diagnosis: paranoid personality disorder, may have intermittent psychotic episodes and also an affective disorder but these were not observed at the time of the admission’. This letter was copied to Dr Nigel Eastman.
So Alice states that I was not observed to have any psychotic symptoms at all. Although I had ‘paranoid ideas’ because I believed that psychiatrists in Wales were ‘against me’. These were psychiatrists whom Alice knew had been the subject of criticism in the wake of a formal complaint, whom Alice knew had lost their ‘boundaries’ (ahem) and whom Alice knew had worked very hard to bring multiple serious charges against me which had now all been withdrawn. And I had even accused Dr Jacobson of collaborating with Dr Jones – er, well Alice was the bleep holder who was taking all the messages as Robin Jacobson collaborated with Dafydd et al. And although I wasn’t psychotic and was no longer facing any criminal charges, I was going to be referred to the forensic dept at St Georges for ‘containment’. Oh and I still had a homicidal capacity although I hadn’t murdered anyone after all and I might well have ‘psychotic episodes’ although no-one had seen any evidence of this.
I’m not sure how Alice felt able to actually put her name to this letter. But she did – and on Feb 11, after Alice had discharged me, I was sent an appointment to see Dr Nigel Eastman and a Dr Bartlett on Feb 20 1991. It was at that appointment that Eastman told me that he thought that I ought to go back to north Wales. If I was indeed a maniac with a homicidal capacity, I can only presume that Nigel Eastman wanted me to go back to Wales and murder them all. But didn’t everyone admit that there were ‘boundary issues’ in Wales? So why was Nigel recommending that I return there if I wasn’t going to commit a mass murder after all – wouldn’t I have been at risk from all these psychiatrists with no boundaries?
Since all this happened in 1991, there has been a number of high profile scandals at Springfield, involving patients murdering each other and staff. One such incident was the subject of an investigation led by the barrister Peter Herbert and was followed by a very damning report in 2000. I note that the patient involved in this case had previously been a patient at the Maudsley, had been transferred to the forensic dept at St Georges/Springfield and had been left with no aftercare or follow-up, which sounds familiar. I was also told that at one point a newly appointed Director of Nursing at Springfield had walked out after a matter of months because the standard of nursing there was so poor that they felt it could not be turned around. (Ironically, on the day that Robin Jacobson first met me whilst he ‘assessed’ me at home, he told me that I would never encounter the sort of problems at Springfield that I had in north Wales because they even employed a patient’s solicitor at Springfield. What on earth was that solicitor doing with their time in the face of all this?)
But a few other things have come to light as well. The last time that I googled Robin Jacobson, he was working in the Priory in Roehampton. Dr Paul Bowden has since died, but his obituary revealed a few interesting things, one of these being that he worked closely – and co-authored – with one Professor Robert Bluglass. I’ve also discovered something else since Paul Bowden made many excuses not have me at the Maudsley. One of those things is that, as Dr Jacobson mentioned in a letter, dear old Dafydd Alun Jones had done a stint at the Maudsley with Bob Hobson. Dr Robert Hobson was a very big name in psychotherapy who also died some years ago and the Maudsley were very proud of him. His obituary talked of him training ‘generations’ of leading psychiatrists who were now scattered across the UK, carrying on his inspirational work – just like Dafydd! Of course, by the time that he met me, Paul Bowden, being a forensic psychiatrist, will have also known all about Mary Wynch’s legal case against Dafydd, which set a precedent. So I suspect that all these eminent people in London knew damn well that there was a Grade A rogue in north Wales who was seriously abusing patients – but he was one of Bob Hobsons and no-one wanted to shatter the myth. (Just to make it quite clear to readers – whatever Bob Hobson thought that he might have taught Dafydd at the Maudsley, Dafydd was certainly not practising it at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. There is no way that any part of Denbigh was run as a ‘therapeutic community’, there was no psychotherapy going on there at all. Patients were incarcerated, sometimes unlawfully, drugged up, abused and sometimes subjected to physical assaults.) I think that the delightful Ruth White now practices in Worcestershire. As for Alice Levinson, the proud author of that extraordinary discharge letter that was such a mass of contradictions – well Alice is now a psychotherapist in affluent Richmond, is involved in the academic supervision of psychotherapy postgrads and no doubt leads a very comfortable life, well away from the chaos and squalor that is NHS psychiatry. But as with Chaucer’s knight, Alice is not all that she now seems. Many years ago, she played a central role in concealing some gross abuses involving the unlawful imprisonment and sexual exploitation of patients – oh and some of the people that Alice so ably assisted were also facilitating a paedophile ring. I hope that I don’t ever meet Alice again, but if I did I would feel compelled to ask her the question that psychotherapists so love asking of others – ‘How does that make you feel?’
What of Nigel Eastman who was also fully aware of this unholy mess but nonetheless urged me to return to the embrace of those boundaryless psychiatrists in north Wales? He is now a towering figure in UK forensic psychiatry, Emeritus Professor Nigel Eastman, still at St Georges, who has given ‘expert’ evidence in many high profile cases, including murder trials. I note that Nigel Eastman is doubly qualified, he is a barrister as well as a psychiatrist. So presumably Nigel Eastman can not only tell if someone really is psychotic and paranoid, but also understands when the law is being broken. I suspect that it would not have been beyond him to notice if a young woman was suicidal because she was being royally stitched up and abused by a gang of shysters, one of whom happened to know Bob Hobson…
Once I did go back to north Wales as advised by Nigel Eastman, I did of course encounter many more problems with the mental health services and I’ll be blogging about this soon. But on two occasions something happened that at the time I thought were really nasty incidents but that I never ever connected with those we know and love who were concealing abuses in the mental health services/the activities of a paedophile gang. On two occasions in the months after leaving London, lighted material was pushed through my letter box and quite a lot of it too. Rags, sticks, newspaper, the lot, quite a nice little bonfire. Neither of the fires spread because I didn’t have mats and carpets by the door, but I don’t expect whoever was kind enough to try to start a fire in my house knew that. Interestingly enough, in the wake of the more recent publicity about the north Wales child abuse scandal, it was revealed that a number of the boys who had been in care in north Wales, in the homes where abuse was alleged to have been happening, were involved in a house fire somewhere in the south of England. At least one of them died. No-one ever managed to explain why so many alleged witnesses/victims of the paedophile gang happened to be at the same house party in England, so many years after leaving care in north Wales. There was also a lot of questions regarding the person who was eventually convicted of starting the fire.
There is one other person who is worth a mention here, but they are someone whom I have never met. That is someone who worked at Springfield as a clinical psychologist whilst all this was occurring and who indeed was for a long time Clinical Director of Springfield. Step forward Dr Rachel Perkins OBE, champion of service users, spokesperson for the disabled, MIND person of the year and now a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In one of the many glowing pieces about Rachel that the Guardian has published, it was mentioned that Rachel is a ‘champion’ regarding getting disabled people off benefits and into employment – Rachel is so keen on this, that like Paul Farmer (CEO of MIND), she is supportive of the present welfare reforms that are allegedly designed to ‘encourage’ disabled people to move into work but are actually leaving people destitute and in some cases dead. The Guardian article was keen that no-one should misunderstand Rachel – she’s not unsympathetic, she just passionately believes that disabled people can and should work rather than claim benefits. As an example of Rachel’s commitment, the Guardian reminds us all that when she worked at Springfield, Rachel established a scheme whereby patients were found work placements. I remember that scheme very well, but the Guardian has obviously forgotten it. There was an enormous row when it was revealed that Rachel’s scheme had ‘helped’ a female patient into a ‘work-placement’ as a pole-dancer/stripper. Rachel held out against opposition and outrage and explained that the patient in question wanted this job, it was ‘her choice’. Well Rachel, if that patient had been manic, she might well have thought that being a stripper was a brilliant idea – but she might have felt rather differently sometime later. It all reminds me of that man whom Bob Hobson trained and his employment opportunities for young female patients from Denbigh – living in his house with him as ‘nannies’ and ‘housekeepers’. Rachel Perkins and Dafydd Alun Jones – flying the flag for equality and human rights!
Shortly after my narrow escape from the horrors of St Georges and the forensic psychiatrists of London, the north Wales mental health services had yet another go at imprisoning me – and this time they called upon the services of a man who, since the Mid-Staffs scandal, has become a household name. That will be the subject of another blog post.