London

Kids Company psychologist admits drug taking while with young clients

Helen Winter Image copyright Court News UK
Image caption Helen Winter admitted she was guilty of misconduct and that her fitness to practice is impaired

A psychologist working at Kids Company has admitted taking illegal drugs in the company of young people she met through the charity.

Helen Winter told an employment tribunal she had used MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, on "several occasions" and let two young clients stay at her flat.

She is also accused of offering MDMA to one of the young people and taking it in front of them, which she denies.

She could face being struck off.

'Inappropriate interaction'

Ms Winter admitted she was guilty of misconduct and that her fitness to practice is impaired at a hearing at the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

She also admitted testing positive for cocaine in a routine drugs test for Kids Company in 2014.

Kids Company collapsed in August amid claims of financial mismanagement and has faced a series of damaging allegations since then.

The charity, which is now under the control of administrators, is being investigated by officers from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse team of the Metropolitan Police Service.

Image copyright AFP/GettyImages
Image caption An internal investigation was carried out after Nicci Shall confided in the charity's chief executive, Camila Batmanghelidjh

Daniel Mansell, the presenting officer, told the HCPC hearing concerns were raised in Kids Company about the registrant's drug use and "inappropriate interaction with service users".

He said Ms Winter went to the Hidden club in Vauxhall, south London, with her colleague Nicci Shall in January 2014 having purchased some MDMA on the way.

Ms Shall told the hearing they were in the toilet when they saw the two young people known as Client C and Client D, both in their early 20s.

It is alleged she offered the drug to Client C, who accepted - which Ms Winter denies.

Ms Shall told the hearing: "Helen Winter offered client C and me a dab of MDMA, which I declined. Helen Winter and client C consumed the MDMA."

She said that after she left the club she felt "awful" about what she had witnessed and wanted to tell her boss, but was persuaded not to with Dr Winter telling her the clients had "had a good time and nothing had come of it".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The charity collapsed in August amid claims of financial mismanagement

She told the hearing: "I went to colleagues and they advised me not to take it any further. I stupidly followed their advice and I regret that."

An internal investigation was carried out after she reported the matter to the charity's chief executive, Camilla Batmanghelidjh, but she raised concerns about the accuracy of the subsequent report.

She said: "I do not feel that the investigation report, compiled by witness B, accurately reflects my account of events.

"I challenged the accuracy of the report but was informed by Kids Company that it was an internal document and should remain confidential."

Related Topics