New fight in battle for justice for two men injured at Horsham care home

Two men who have been fighting for five years to find out how two of their relatives suffered injuries while living at a Horsham care home have launched a new battle.

Friday, 17th July 2020, 9:37 am

Severely disabled Gary Lewis and Matthew Bates were each found to have suffered serious leg fractures in separate incidents - within hours of each other - while they were residents at Beech Lodge care home in Guildford Road, Horsham, in 2015.

Gary’s brother Martyn Lewis and Matthew’s father Mark Bates have been trying ever since to find out exactly what happened.

Both Gary and Matthew required constant care, both had cerebral palsy and neither could walk or talk since birth.

Gary Lewis and Matthew Bates SUS-200716-155429001

A ‘safeguarding alert’ was raised when the two men were admitted to East Surrey’s A&E unit and inquiries launched. But Martyn and Mark remained concerned and reported the incidents to Sussex Police.

Five years on, they feel they are no nearer finding the truth. But they are determined not to give up and have now launched a crowdfunding appeal to fund a legal challenge.

Martyn said: “Despite the initial assurances of the agencies that a full and robust set of enquiries would be made, there has been no definitive conclusion as to what happened and who was responsible.”

Since 2018, former Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll has been helping both families to try and unravel the truth.

An X-ray shows the fracture to Gary Lewis's leg SUS-200717-084759001

The crowdfunding appeal - CrowdJustice - hopes to raise £10,000 to fund a legal challenge into what happened.

Martyn and Mark maintain: “Had Gary and Matthew been under 18 when they received their injuries, things would have been approached more stringently. Today there is far less protection for adults than children in care settings. We seek to bring equality across the two sectors.”

Last year, a complaint - made by Martyn to the Local Government Ombudsman about the way West Sussex County Council looked into the cause of the two men’s injuries- was upheld.

The council was made to pay £1,000 and send a letter of apology after the Ombudsman said ‘significant flaws’ in the initial investigation had caused ‘significant distress and uncertainty’.

The fracture to Mark Bates's leg SUS-200717-084815001

Meanwhile, he and Matthew’s father Mark have spearheaded a campaign group HACA – Harmed in Adult Care Alliance – which is fighting for better adult care across the county.

Beech Lodge care home is run by Sussex Health Care which is currently at the centre of a police investigation following the deaths of 13 people at nine of its homes.