The Inglorious 12th…

…this Sunday it will be the 12th of August, the start of the red grouse shooting season, known to many in the UK as the glorious 12th. Needless to say, if you are a red grouse the date is probably not listed as “glorious” on the calendar and for animal rights advocates the date is known as the inglorious 12th, a day on which those with the inclination and means, shoot small animals; it’s a funny old world. For me, the 12th of August is inglorious, very, very inglorious for altogether different reasons, it is the day my sister Alison had an abortion when she was a Mental Health Patient under “the care” of the NHS in Carlisle, the abortion was the result of the illegal sex acts of a 35yr old trainee Mental Health Nurse called Robert Scott-Buccleuch. Alison was just 21 when she was first admitted to a Mental Hospital in Carlisle. Scott-Buccleuch got close to Alison when she was ill and highly vulnerable, he abused a position of trust and exploited her strong religious beliefs. He told her he shared her faith which in his mind included engaging in unprotected premarital sex on hospital premises, a new and highly novel take on the traditional teachings of the bible.

Alison needed professional help, he wanted sex. According to records, some colleagues tried to tell him he was breaking professional boundaries, a member of staff wrote to managers and Scott-Buccleuchs tutor from the training college, but they were ignored and managers turned a blind eye to what was happening. Despite warnings, Scott-Buccleuch decided to have sex on hospital premises with a mentally ill vulnerable young woman, a decision that could not end well, and it didn’t. Because of his actions and the poor supervision that allowed the events to occur, Alison had a secretive crisis abortion and left “the care” of the NHS in Carlisle. Three years later on the anniversary of what would have been the birth of her baby, Alison stepped in front of a train and ended her life. Robert Scott-Buccleuch and the people who let him take advantage of Alison, they might as well have pushed her onto the railway track themselves that day. Their actions had real consequences and this Sunday the 12th will be thirty years since Alison had the crisis abortion in Carlisle in 1988. No one has ever been held accountable for what was done to Alison in Carlisle.

As if the suicidal death of a sister is not enough to learn to live with, salt has been poured on the wound of our loss by the failings of every one of the institutions we have engaged with in our quest for justice. We have been let down at each stage of our journey as one by one the institutions we put our trust in, that we fund to protect and help us, have failed to do their jobs. The gallery of faces around Alison above reflects the wide range of people and institutions, most of them publicly funded, who have broken the law, been incompetent, lied, turned a blind eye, lost evidence, withheld evidence, protected the guilty, misled us, and placed their reputational needs above our need for justice. They all seem blissfully unaware that Robert Scott-Buccleuchs actions and those who condoned them left a trail of misery and victims in their wake. Our message to you is that we will not let you remain invisible, you have faces and names and we will not let you hide on the fringes, concealing your crimes and incompetence…


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