Sheffield & South Yorkshire

'Insufficient evidence' for Solar Centre abuse charges

No-one will be prosecuted over claims of abuse at a centre for people with learning disabilities in Doncaster, it has been decided for a second time.

Police originally investigated claims of abuse at the Solar Centre in Balby in 2007 and it was decided there was insufficient evidence for prosecution.

The inquiry was reopened last year but the Crown Prosecution Service has again said there is insufficient evidence.

The decision comes after compensation was paid to two former patients.

Three further compensation claims are in progress.

The solicitor for some of the families involved, David Greenwood, said: "I am surprised and I am disappointed. My clients will be really disappointed to hear that the Crown Prosecution Service have decided not to pursue the case.

"I will be doing everything that I can to persuade the CPS to change their minds and realise that the perpetrators here really should face a court."

The inquiry related to allegations of mistreatment at the centre, in the grounds of St Catherine's Hospital, between 2005 and 2007.

South Yorkshire Police said it reopened the case last October after viewing the findings of an investigation by the Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (RDASH).

'Systems changed'

It said officers reviewed the original evidence, considered new legislation and took further statements, with the aim of presenting "strong files" to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Acting Det Ch Insp Natalie Shaw, who led the inquiry, said: "I can understand how disappointing and frustrating the decision not to prosecute will be for the victims and family members who have been involved.

"South Yorkshire Police have thoroughly completed both investigations into the allegations, and we have utilised all the information, legislation and powers we have available to build a strong case.

"Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, there is still insufficient evidence to meet the requirements to progress to a prosecution."

In a statement, RDASH said the staff involved in the inquiry were no longer employed by the trust.

The statement read: "Events at the centre have been the subject of a detailed enquiry carried out by the trust, following which systems have been reviewed and changed.

"Two of the [compensation] claims have concluded. There are three other cases which are currently in progress.

"Information regarding those cases is confidential to the claimants and so the trust is unable to comment on them at this time."

  • 15 September, 2011: This report has been updated in light of new information from South Yorkshire Police.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites