Whorlton Hall Prosecution – 24 March 2023 Defendants’ Interviews

The first interview reported here was started in court yesterday, but I’m reporting it today now that it is complete.

Niall Mellor

The first interview of Niall Mellor took place at Bishop Auckland on 24 May 2019. It was conducted by two officers and Mr Mellor’s solicitor was present. He was reminded of his right to free legal advice, cautioned and have his caution broken down and his understanding of it ascertained. DC Simms confirmed that was the case.

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever abused any patients residing there?

NM: I don’t believe so, no

P: When you say you don’t believe so?

NM: Things drawn up from the programme, people think certain people were being abused, that’s their opinion, I certainly don’t think so, no

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever mistreat any patient in any way?

NM: No

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever been in any way responsible for the treatment of patients that could be described as cruel?

NM: No

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever witnessed the mistreatment or abuse of any patients?

NM: People’s perspectives might say yes but from my perspective and contextual factors, no. I think if the context was understood people might see it differently.

Mr Mellor explained that he’d worked there approximately 3.5 years before he resigned after he was suspended. His first 9 to 12 months of time was spent working in a different home. He worked for the company whilst undertaking his university course, he worked approximately two 12 hour shifts a week, occasionally doing extra shifts. When he started he didn’t have any qualifications but he was expected to get, and he did get Level 1 healthcare qualification a year after he started his employment.

Asked if he thought the training he had was adequate he responded:

NM: No, I don’t think it was adequate, none of the training in there prepared you for behaviours you had to deal with… especially the restraint training, it was a big, big room, helped do it with staff,…. in the hospital the corridors were very slim, rooms had lots of things in it

P: Had you ever highlighted to any of your supervisors you were concerned?

NM: Only verbally

P: Who to?

NM: Steve Robdrup

Asked when he raised it Mr Mellor couldn’t remember the date but thought it was not long after he’d gone to work at Whorlton Hall.

Mr Mellor was asked to explain in as much detail as he could what his role was. He described it as managing the challenging behaviour of patients, helping with healthcare needs, assisting in the home or the community. He said that people would get up in the morning, he’d prompt them to have a shower, to get their breakfast and then accompany them to any activities they had. He told the officers that he thought there were 12 patients at Whorlton Hall, although there had only been 7 when he started. He said in a normal day shift he’d spend time with two patients and he was “aware the policy document said should switch carers every 2 hours but that was never adhered to”.

He described patients’ needs changing frequently and careplans being updated. He said nurses would explain any issues and changes in the pre shift meeting at 07:45 “but time wasn’t set aside to look at careplans… were expected to go straight from the meeting to observations”. Mr Mellor described the hierarchy at Whorlton Hall to the officers and said that generally patients had to be in sight and when a patient was in their bedroom carers were generally expected to sit outside their room. He said that he didn’t have any say in who he looked after.

At that point his interview was suspended for a break and new discs were put in. DC Simms confirmed that at the continuation of the interview the same people were present and Mr Mellor remained under caution.

He was asked about and explained his understanding of Maybo techniques and he explained the training involved “looking at lots of projector slides” and he told the officers he’d asked for more training. He said that Whorlton Hall was a very old building with narrow corridors and it was difficult to conduct restraints because the patient would not stand still, and “in training we were not allowed to increase the tempo, not as a joke but to make it more realistic… the trainer said it increased the chance of having an injury”.

Asked by the officers if he’d ever used a restraint that wasn’t justified he said “I don’t think so” and when they checked again that they were always justified he responded “justified to make sure I’m safe, the patient is safe, and everyone around is safe”.

In response to a question from officers about whether he’d ever had any conversations with his colleagues at Whorlton Hall in which the mistreatment of patients had been discussed, Mr Mellor responded “just bravado comments” adding that for not one moment did he think it was. Asked what he meant by bravado he said “just swearing”. When asked to elaborate he told the officers:

Have had conversations where members of staff have just joked, was just in the programme where staff member said they flattened a patient when they ran at him… if you don’t laugh you’d cry… difficult to relax…. This member of staff was known for joking, not for one second did I think that it was the case, I thought was just joking.

Asked who he was referring to he told the officers it was an incident, shown on the documentary, where Darren Lawton was talking about Patient 7. He added that when people called him what they did [I think he said One Direction] “the jokes were just jokes”. In response to an officer’s question he said he didn’t believe he’d ever witnessed any mistreatment of patients.

An officer asked Mr Mellor how he felt after watching the Panorama documentary and he said he was “disappointed” and that he “thought it was very one sided”. He agreed that he did feature in it, when the officer asked how he felt when he saw the things that he said in the programme he referenced a clip of him which showed him discussing nipping a patient:

The reporter was very playful with all of the group… play fighting… thought no more of it, only minutes before that, she was doing that, when I said that I was just joking that I could do it to her. If patients were being nipped or beaten, surely things would have come up on their body maps?

Asked if there was anything he wished to add he responded that he didn’t think so, and that interview was concluded.

Mr Herrmann told the court, and DC Simms confirmed, that Mr Mellor was invited back for a second interview that took place on 11 March 2020. He told the jury that the transcript for this interview was at pages 75 to 108. DC Simms confirmed that it took place shortly after 10:30 in the morning and was conducted by himself and another officer, and Mr Mellor’s solicitor was also present. DC Simms also agreed that Mr Mellor was informed that his interview was being recorded and may be used in court. He was advised that he was a voluntary attender, was not under arrest and did not have to remain, and he confirmed he understood he was entitled to free legal advice and that he had had enough time to consult with his solicitor. DC Simms confirmed that he was cautioned, that it was broken down and it was ascertained that he understood it.

An officer told Mr Mellor that they’d a couple of ares they wished to explore with him, and they may tread over old ground. The first discussion was about careplans. Mr Mellor said that the careplan was the file that depicts how to care for patient behaviours and there were areas where would record things at the end of an observation. In response to a question he said that “no two care plans should be the same” and he described the purpose of them as to tell you about the patient, their history health conditions and behaviours. When the officer asked what he meant when he said that he’d “write about notes and activities”, Mr Mellor answered:

PBS notes, anything patient had done, positive or negative, and what you’ve done to help with that… their day and what done with that, their health plan if any comorbidities, and activities planned…  such long time ago I cant remember any other sections.

Mr Mellor was assured that it was not a memory test and if he didn’t know then he didn’t know. Asked if he’d had any input into careplans he said he had not had any input, unless his notes had influenced a nurse to update it. He explained to the officers that the nurse would read careplans for a patient at the end of the day and if they identified any behaviours, likes or dislikes, the nurses would look at notes written by the staff and take out any positives or negatives, that they would tailor the careplans by using the observations of the staff “that’s the theory”.

When an officer asked if it was important to abide by careplans Mr Mellor responded “to the best you can in the context”. He agreed they were an important document, that they can’t be used solely by themselves but that they were a tool to help staff and the patients they were with, commenting “that’s the theory”. Asked if he followed them he responded “I tried my best”.

He told the officers that when you started at the company you were made aware of the careplans “almost straight away but weren’t given the opportunity to read them”, when officers asked for more information he said that he “felt thrown in at the deep end” and that “Whorlton Hall was very short staffed” and he was left trying to read and write notes in a 20 minute window. Asked if he was given a patient’s careplan when allocated them, he said no and that he’d usually be with a member of staff who he was shadowing and that “you’d get the careplan maybe if you had a break period, or the other member of staff had written their notes and was time for you to go through it” but he described that as limited.

In response to the officers questions Mr Mellor responded that careplans were kept in the office, that they weren’t locked away, but they were secure and he didn’t believe that patients could access the office. He said that “a lot of the time you could go in there and ask for it [the careplan] and they’d be using it” and that they weren’t given any specific time to read, end of shift or when writing notes. He said that he asked for breaks to see if he could read the careplans, describing that as “quite difficult because I only did infrequent shifts and wasn’t full time”. He told the officers that things could move on in a week.

P: You were expected to read them?

NM: Sure, but the opportunity to do so was very slim

P: As part of training you were told you must read that?

NM: Yeh… partnered with working with shadow member of staff so try read as much as can

Officers asked what the common needs of patients were, stating that they were all there under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act, but asking whether they all had autism of learning needs. Mr Mellor said that he didn’t believe that they all had autism, stating it was such a long time ago and that some patients weren’t just Section 3. He said “a lot was to do with challenging behaviour” and he told officers that he’d previously worked at Thornfield Grange, and that “wasn’t so much challenging behaviour, was healthcare needs, but here it was a mix of both”. Asked by officers how that would manifest itself he mentioned physical violence, verbal violence and self-harm or the destruction of property. Asked how he’d deal with that Mr Mellor responded with the primary, secondary and tertiary strategies within the careplan. When asked he described primary strategies as day to day basis, secondary when beginning to have an issue, what could do to try and resolve it, and tertiary strategy was physical intervention. Asked by the officers what the name was for the physical intervention he said Maybo and told them that he had been trained in it, and believed he was trained once a year with a two day refresher.

Officers asked if he had any other skills, or training specific to the role, such as in autism and Mr Mellor said:

I cant remember all of it, I believe we did, touched briefly on something to do with personality disorder and autism might been part of that. It was so brief, you were pulled off observations for that.

In response to an officer’s question he said that he could not recall any specific training around careplans, just that they needed to make themselves aware of them.

P: Was there a shortened version of it? Like a one page?

NM: I know staff did one page profiles, I was there so infrequently, if patients did one page profiles I wasn’t aware of it.

Asked if the careplans contained information about what strategy should be applied in response to presenting behaviour, Mr Mellor responded that it had been so long since he’d read them he couldn’t say. Officers then moved on to discussing Patient 1 with Mr Mellor. He described that things would develop, referencing balloons and repeating words, and that they weren’t always things that Patient 1 liked. He said that a “patient can chop and change, hour to hour, day to day” and “for that precise reason is why careplans was necessary to read, but might not be the most up to date behaviour that person was displaying”.

The officers asked how that information would come out if the careplans were not up to date and Mr Mellor said that if things were written in notes that should happen in the handover period 15 minutes before the shift.

P: OK, even if careplans weren’t up to date, staff would hopefully get updated in meetings?

NM: In theory, personally I don’t feel I was always updated but that was the thought process…. may be expressed in there, but not always, if a lot is put in there, some things might get missed out

P: Have you read Patient 1’s careplan?

NM: Definitely read it at the time, haven’t read everything, that much information to retain and put into practice straight away in context of challenging behaviour was very difficult.

P: Do you recall reading back about repeating back to her, balloons and men in her careplan?

NM: Do understand she was dubious about certain males but on the other hand Patient 1 took well to some males.

The officers then moved on to discussing Patient 4, who Mr Mellor said he recalled. The officer said that in Patient 4’s careplan it said that he liked talking to his sister and listening to music, he disliked diabetes and pyjamas. The officer then asked Mr Mellor if he recalled a careplan specific to Patient 4’s diabetes. Mr Mellor said that he didn’t remember anything specific but they had “other patients with similar morbidities and the reporting process was similar”. The officer suggested that Patient 4 wasn’t able to manage his diabetes himself and Mr Mellor replied ok.

P: Staff were required to help manage that for him. I’ve watched footage of Patient 4, I know how aggressive and violent he can be… could say he’s in denial [about his diabetes]. Do you recall anything like that, a specific diabetes care plan?

NM: Believe was a diabetes care plan within the health promotion careplan… will say Patient 4 was very upset by many things… don’t believe they were the only things

The officer said that wasn’t exhaustive, just an example

NM: He was very selective of when he became upset. Other times he’d become upset if you called him [his name], the hospital a hospital and the nurse a nurse.

[The officer then asked Mr Mellor some questions about Patient 4 and whether he remembered pyjamas being a trigger for him – I didn’t catch his response, apologies].

The officer then asked him if it was ever acceptable not to follow a careplan and Mr Mellor responded “if safety permits” and then asked his solicitor if he could ask him a question in private. His interview was suspended to allow them time to speak.

DC Simms told the court that when it recommenced, the same people were present and Mr Mellor was reminded of the caution. Mr Mellor confirmed for the recording that he had not been asked anything during the break by the officers, and that he had had sufficient time to talk to his solicitor.

Officers asked Mr Mellor if he wished to say anything as he’d had a break and spoken with his solicitor, he asked them to repeat the question. There was some discussion about what the last question had been and then Mr Mellor was asked whether it was ever acceptable to deviate from careplans. Mr Mellor responded that “when circumstances permit have had to”, asked for an example he told the officers about an incident when Patient 3 was extremely violent and the careplan said to only use five people in a restraint but they had deviated there and needed to use nine people.

A little later officers asked Mr Mellor if careplans were ever used to wind patients up, and he asked for clarification of their question. They responded with the triggers identified in careplans and Mr Mellor repsonded that its “such a long time since this, I can’t recall”.

Asked by the officers how long he’d worked at Whorlton Hall he said without checking his P45 he didn’t know but he said he’d worked at another place within the company when he was 18 for 9 months or a year, and then at Whorlton Hall until this investigation. He told officers that he was at university so usually worked two or three shifts a week but sometimes more in the university holidays. Asked if he ever had an appraisal by the manager he said that he thought he’d had them but it was such a long time, it would be difficult to be precise. He said he believed Steve Robdrup, the Deputy Manager, had done his appraisal and he couldn’t recall anything specifically when he was asked if it was good or bad.

In response to an officer’s question Mr Mellor confirmed that Thornfield Grange, where he’d worked previously was the same company as Whorlton Grange.

P: Would you say things were easier at Thornfield Grange?

NM: In a word yes….

P: Was it like a step up compared to Thornfield?

NM: Absolutely

P: Was that reflected in the wage?

NM: Maybe 30 or 50 pence an hour

P: Why did you move over then?

Mr Mellor explained that his Dad worked at Whorlton Hall and he thought he might be closer to him and see him more often if he worked there.

In response to another question from the officers Mr Mellor said he had been assaulted by multiple patients and he “felt vulnerable in the sense was one of youngest people there, and one of slightest people, other than the females who worked there”. Asked what he would do if assaulted he said the incident would be written up, sometimes the police would be informed, sometimes physical intervention was implemented, he might go home or go to receive treatment. He said that he felt any member of staff had the potential to be assaulted by a service user.

Asked if there were any times that he felt scared at Whorlton Hall, Mr Mellor mentioned the incident of restraint on Patient 3 which he’d mentioned previously. He said “felt scared, think people were in tears when they were told they’d be on this service users observations, I felt scared for sure” and that even the night before work he would be sitting thinking things over and he would be worried about how dangerous it was. Asked by the officers if he had expressed that to anyone he said “absolutely and in debriefs afterwards”, when the officers asked who he’d made aware he said nurses or senior members of staff.

In response to an officer’s question Mr Mellor detailed who the members of the multi disciplinary team were, explaining that they came in once a week on a Tuesday. When the officer asked if he’d considered a change of career Mr Mellor explained that it was a difficult time for him, he was at university and had his car to pay for. Asked by an officer if he felt he fitted in at Whorlton Hall he responded that he felt like he got on with most staff and on further questioning that he was maybe friends with some staff, with most of them. Asked if it was a friendly place to work Mr Mellor responded that he felt the behaviours overshadowed the friendliness. He told officers that he’d socialise with colleagues outside of work and had been to multiple events. In response to a question asking if he felt he was treated differently to other members of staff Mr Mellor said that he thought because he was young, sometimes people would treat him like he didn’t have much experience. When asked if he was thinking of anyone in particular he said the manager, Chris Shield, he said he didn’t treat him badly but he didn’t feel that he respected him. When the officer asked if he thought there were any cliques in the staff, highlighting the reliance on agency staff Mr Mellor responded that he didn’t believe so and that agency staff and permanent staff got on well, saying they’d socialise together and would play football together now and again.

Asked if he ever felt pressured into doing something wrong he cited the example given previously of restraining someone using ten people, asked if he felt there was peer pressure to act in a particular way or treat people in a derogatory manner Mr Mellor said “no, I don’t believe there was”.

The officer then moved on to ask Mr Mellor how he’d go about reporting things and he said he’d write a statement, speak to a higher up member of staff, a senior or someone above them, and he said you could go external “I know I went external before”. At that point when asked for more information he asked his solicitor whether he should talk about what they’d discussed outside and his solicitor said yes, it was his interview.

Mr Mellor then told the officers that he didn’t feel he’d been listened to in regard to Patient 3 “I didn’t believe we were providing the package this commissioner thought he was getting”. He reference multiple restraints, how scared the staff were of working with Patient 3 and described there being “immense pressure”. He didn’t feel anything was being done about it, so he told the officers that he went to the Care Quality Commission, the CQC. He told officers if they saw the records within that period he was chastised.

NM: I was asked to go into the office with Chris Shield who said I shouldn’t go to the CQC, I should address it here.

The officer asked what his justification was for that.

NM: That correct procedures was to report here.

P: Why did you go external?

NM: I didn’t feel anything was done about it and felt myself, and Patient 3 were put at enormous risk.

P: Ok. How did you report it?

NM: Anonymously, on their website.

The officer asked how Chris Shield had found out it was Mr Mellor who reported it.

NM: I don’t know if he’d spoken to others, but he said he’d had call from the CQC and he asked if I did it and I said yes.

Mr Mellor described that he thought it was the right thing to do to report it, and to own up to that when Mr Shield asked. The officer then asked if he had ever reported anything else and he requested a further break to speak with his solicitor.

At that point court was adjourned for an afternoon break. The reading of the interview continued when the jury returned.

The officer revisited the last question, which was about whether Mr Mellor had made any other reports, other than the one he’d discussed, regarding behaviours and things happening at Whorlton Hall that he wasn’t comfortable with. Mr Mellor said he’d made another report to the CQC before the investigation period, in relation to an incident in Patient 6’s room. He described himself and Ryan Fuller attending Patient 6’s room and as soon as they went in Patient 6 immediately tried to attack Ryan, so they instigated Maybo and restrained Patient 6 in an open, supine position on the floor. He said he set off his alarm, he was on the patient’s left arm, Ryan was on his right arm and two other staff members [didn’t catch their names but they’re not defendants in this case] arrived to help and they each took a leg. He said Patient 6 was trying to bite Ryan, the attack alarm was already raised, and two people attended. These people were X and Y who have been mentioned in court on a couple occasions already [they are former staff members, not defendants or witnesses in this case].

“Person Y came in, saw what Patient 6 was trying to do to Ryan, bite his shoulder, put his feet either side of Patient 6’s head, from standing position slammed down onto his knees. At this time, and I believe still towards the end of our employment at Whorlton Hall, Patient 6 still had an injury to his head. At this point it was quite open and this member of staff, Y, dug his fist into the open wound on his head with his hands. He locked the elbow, dug his fist where the knuckles went into this wound for 15 minutes, while the charge nurse watched”.

When the officer asked who the Charge Nurse was, Mr Mellor identified them as Person X and said that “everyone knew and they openly admitted they were having an affair with each other at the time”. Mr Mellor told the officers that the restraint ended and she did nothing about it. He and Peter Bennett agreed to report it to her, X, and she told him that what needs to be done is done, and that he didn’t need to worry about it. He told the officers that they didn’t think anything would be done because she’d allowed it to happen for 15 minutes, so he agreed with Mr Bennett that he, Mr Bennett, would write an email higher up in the organisation, and he, Mr Mellor, wrote to the CQC about that.

Asked when this was Mr Mellor couldn’t say but told the officers if they had access to records about 5 months before Y and X were dismissed, because there was a long period of time when they were under investigation internally about this. The officer checks that X and Y were dismissed as a result of this incident, Mr Mellor said they were because it was a room with CCTV. Asked if it was reported to the police he said he didn’t know, that he reported it to CQC.

The officers then moved on to show Mr Mellor the video footage in which he featured. The first clip was a discussion he was having with another member of staff, Budgie on 20 January 2019. The officer suggests that Budgie asks Mr Mellor if he’d mentioned pyjamas to Patient 4 and he said no, that would be winding him up. Mr Mellow said it was such a long time ago.

P: Did you hear Budgie asking did you say pyjamas to him? You turned around and said I’d say jim jams not pyjamas, do you recall saying that?

NM: I don’t remember

P: Did you hear yourself on the video?

The officer plays the clip again

P: Did you hear that there?

NM: I heard myself say jim jams, anything about that? Jim jams is just what I call them at home

P: You don’t recall now, do you think you would acknowledged then jim jams was something that would wind Patient 4 up?

NM: I know there were times been with that service user and he’s been incontinent and he was getting wound up… impossible come up with sentence where not possible to include trigger.

The officer plays the next clip of Mr Mellor with Patient 8.

P: You say to Patient 8, what I’m going to do XXX is I’ll get my plate, and my next meal I will get off your top?

NM: Was weird relationship, the thing that made XXX happiest was when he was joking… could go from very good mood to bad mood by cracking a joke…. being formal would distance yourself from service users, having a joke with Patient 6 would lighten his mood.

When the officer asks whether he is suggesting that was banter they were having, Mr Mellor responds yes and in response to a question said he didn’t believe he was offended in any way.

The officer said that the next clip was shown in the Panorama documentary, it was the clip of Patient 4 being restrained in the corridor. Mr Mellor said he’d seen it on the TV. In response to a question from the officer Mr Mellow said that it was “an excellent example” of Patient 4. He told the officer that they’d try to move him out of the corridor because they’d been told not to allow patients beside the kitchen, in the corridor. The officer suggests that the video clearly shows that Patient 4 doesn’t like Mr Mellor, that he says he doesn’t like you, and that he clearly has issues with you and his arousal levels are high. Mr Mellor agreed with all of those observations. The officer says “he gets restrained, no problem with that, you even comment that it’s textbook Maybo. He continues to shout profanities at you, do you recall any of this” and Mr Mellor says no but he knew “his behaviour was to say things like that” so he understood.

Asked if he recalled Ryan Fuller passing chewing gum around while restraining Patient 4, Mr Mellor asked to see the video again. Asked what he thought about it after it was re-played he said that from his personal experience when he was nervous he’d want something to stop it, like twiddling a pen or chewing gum “I know I’m smiling on there, I’m nervous, chewing gum is something I do to try and stop that”. The officer said he had no problem with him chewing gum, but asked if he thought it was appropriate behaviour while restraining Patient 4 and Mr Mellor responded that he didn’t know.

He then asked for another break to speak with his solicitor. On his return the officer asked again, having viewed the footage if he thought there was anything of concern with Ryan Fuller handing around chewing gum, while Patient 4 was on the floor.

NM: We weren’t engaging with Patient 4, was a tactic, everything we said to him was winding him up, so it’s a tactic of disengagement, Patient 4 then isn’t the centre of attention at that point. With Patient 6 it worked great…. If engage with someone already angry might make them more so at this point, it’s almost as though we’re engaging with ourselves so Patient 4 cant engage with what we say.

P: So, you’re saying it’s a tactic to not engage with him…

NM: I believe it was

P: At one point Ryan Fuller has Patient 4’s glasses on, do you wish to say anything about that?

NM: As far as I’m aware it was just so they wouldn’t get broke.

P: You were talking about disengagement as a tactic, is that something you’re trained in? Is that a recognised tactic?

NM: I don’t recall

Mr Mellor then asked his solicitor if he should give more examples and he responded that it was his interview and he could if he wished to. He gave another example of how staff would disengage with Patient 1. The officer said that they weren’t saying whether it was right or wrong, but asked where he learnt it from, was it from training or other staff. Mr Mellor responded it was a bit of both really, and said it was “difficult, its not what it looks like” and he then said there had been incidents out on the street and he didn’t think he could go out any more.

The officer shows the next clip which he tells Mr Mellor is shot in the lounge area outside Patient 4’s bedroom.

P: Quite a long clip, anything to say about that clip?

NM: Not unless you’ve got some questions no

P: The comment to Jason ‘I could do a nightshift and cure this cunt’, what were you referring to there?

NM: I feel Patient 4 targeted me, at the same time that made me really scared, so I used words and bravado so I didn’t come across as the weak link in the team.

P: What did you mean by it though?

NM: That was bravado, didn’t mean any of it…. was just trying to act clever in front of Olivia… she was an attractive girl, I didn’t want to look scared

P: So when you say ‘I could do a nightshift and cure this cunt’ you’re not saying you could cure him in any way?

NM: No I wasn’t actually, was trying to act not scared.

The next clip the officer said showed Mr Mellor asking Patient 4 about his pyjamas on two occasions.

P: First time he gets upset with you, what was your intention?

NM: Nothing, Jason asked if I was going to ask him, don’t know what time it is?

P: Don’t have times unfortunately

NM: Later in day, can’t remember time of day, Patient 4 did wear pyjamas, I’ve asked him if he’ll stick on before and he’s fine with it, think is case if Patient 4 takes dislike to it or in bad mood already, would take dislike.

P: Why did Jason ask you? To wind him up?

NM: To get ready for the night shift I think

P: Why wouldn’t Jason just ask him?

NM: Don’t know whether he was already upset with Jason or not.

P: So it wasn’t to wind him up?

NM: I don’t believe so

P: You weren’t trying to set a trigger off with Patient 4

Mr Mellor responded [missed it, apologies]

The second part of that clip was then shown to Mr Mellor, it was in the same location, at 17mins. The officer asked Mr Mellor if he had any comment on it, and he responded that he’d asked Patient 4 to put his pyjamas on and it looked like the staff members were coming in for night shift at that point, so he’d have been wanting to get him ready for that. He also said he was nervous and didn’t want to look nervous in front of everyone.

P: On the footage you’re smiling when you ask him and laughing when you come back in.

NM: I’m just nervous, he’d attacked me already on multiple occasions

P: So you’re not trying to wind him up? You’re not trying to set the trigger off?

NM: No I asked him for his night attire.

When the officer suggested to Mr Mellor that he was deliberately mentioning pyjamas to wind Patient 4 up and that he didn’t believe he didn’t know it was a trigger as he’d mentioned it was days earlier Mr Mellor said all he was trying to do was get ready for the night shift. When the officer checked that he was saying he wasn’t trying to wind him up, Mr Mellor responded no and that his facial expressions were just because he was nervous and didn’t want to look weak.

There was then another short break and the officer showed Mr Mellor a further clip, of him and Darren Lawton filmed in February 2019.

P: When the clip starts you talk about getting someone by the throat, who was that?

NM: I don’t even know

P: So you don’t know who you got by the throat?

NM: No, it was bravado

P: Did you get anyone by the throat?

NM: Of course not

The officer checked with Mr Mellor if he had restrained someone he would have written it up and he said yes. Answering yes when the officer checked he was saying that he didn’t get anyone by the throat and it was all bravado in front of Olivia. When the officer asked if he thought it was appropriate to have these discussions in Patient 5’s lounge, when he was likely in the next room asleep Mr Mellow responded that it was about context and that it was a “massively stressful place to work, had to have a joke and bravado, otherwise you’d break down in tears”.

When the officer asked if he had heard about the man button, Mr Mellor said he’d watched it on TV. He said he didn’t specifically remember Patient 1’s careplan saying she didn’t like men but Mr Mellor said it was “impossible not to have men there, Patient 1 deliberately targeted females… there were night shifts when two males had to be there… the nurses purposely put people there because they had to that’s all they had”. Mr Mellor said he couldn’t recall whether he’d referred to the man button with Patient 1. The officer said that Mr Mellor mentioned balloons to Patient 1 and she didn’t like balloons and he said he couldn’t say whether he was told that by other members of staff or whether it was written down in her notes.

When the officer suggested that the man button was used to wind Patient 1 up, Mr Mellor responded that it “was just bravado” and that he thought there was a red button with a stick man on it, and that was what the man button was.

At that point the solicitor asked for a break in the interview and the tapes were changed. This was when court was adjourned yesterday evening 23 March at 4pm.

Mr Herrmann checked with DC Simms that while this part of the transcript was headed Niall Mellor’s 4th interview it was in fact a continuation of the long interview that the ladies and gentlemen of the jury heard last thing yesterday afternoon, he agreed. The same people were present and Mr Mellor was cautioned again.

He was shown video footage of his interactions with Patient 5, specifically waking him by banging on a table and he didn’t accept there was anything wrong with that, describing his relationship with Patient 5 as “very good”.

Mr Mellor was shown another clip, where it was said he liked telling Patient 4 about diabetes, he said it was an “off the cuff remark” and that anything could be a trigger.

P: I’ve identified from the footage at least four occasions shown so far where you and others are talking about diabetes and pyjamas, being something that winds up Patient 4. I’m not saying you’re only person who knows this information but it’s clear to me that you are one of the staff in there who are aware these are triggers for Patient 4.

NM: I believe most of the staff feel that way

No doubt written up in a careplan

P: Why are staff saying things to Patient 4 that clearly wind him up? Why would you want to wind up Patient 4?

NM: I feel like I’ve given my answer

P: That’s fine… you’re saying to Darren its like mentioning diabetes to Patient 4

NM: Off the cuff comment, any number of things could be that, that’s just one referred to at the time

Plays more of video.

P: Did you hear that? You say he hates being asked to put his pyjamas on

NM: Like another, previous before, off the cuff comment to Darren

P: So you know diabetes winds him up and pyjamas wind him up, can see that on the CCTV

NM: Was just talking to Darren at the time.

The officer then shows Mr Mellor another video clip filmed on 9 February 2019. He tells him that himself and Olivia Davies are in the kitchen area getting a cuppa and the clip is two minutes long. It was put to Mr Mellor that he’s talking to Olivia Davies about Patient 1. At one point he mouths the words ‘fat cunt’ about Patient 1 and discusses the mole on her face. Mr Mellor said that it was just a comment he made. The officer said that he had balloons and Mr Mellor responded that was just bravado and he didn’t have any balloons. Asked why he said it he responded that Olivia Davies was attractive and that “I feel like she was trying to entrap me to say something”.

P: You’re saying you didn’t known Patient 1 didn’t like balloons. You’re saying to me you thought Patient 1 liked balloons, but you’re saying to Olivia you have balloons, the context was you were saying to wind Patient 1 up.

NM: That was just a comment I made to Olivia, nothing more.

P: Do you not like Patient 1? You’re quite derogatory about her, you call her a fat cunt and comment about her mole and say it puts you off women for life

NM: I feel like I’ve given my answer

Mr Mellor was shown more clips. He accepted some were inappropriate but he said that it was bravado and he was trying to impress Olivia.

He was shown a video of him in Patient 5’s room with another staff member, Graham Kelly. It was put to Mr Mellor that he was speaking inappropriately to another staff member in front of Patient 5 and Mr Mellor was not prepared to answer questions.

Shown another video.

P: Video shows clearly winding up Patient 4, talking about posters on his wall, obviously has interest in Ariana Grande. You’re saying different names to wind him up

NM: I was joking to Olivia, was just bravado, I didn’t actually do that with Patient 4 in his room

P: So that didn’t happen. Why did you say that?

NM: I was just trying to impress her

P: Why did you do that, it’s a funny way to impress her

Asked about where he said he’d turned Patient 4’s radio up and down he said he was just “acting up” to Olivia Davies and that he didn’t do that.

P: Why would you say that? What would make you think turning the radio up and down would wind Patient 4 up?

NM: It wouldn’t. I must have just thought of it at that time. I was just acting daft.

P: Reason I ask that is because in his careplan is his CD player and second to that his sister, those were the two most important things in his life. Did you have knowledge of that?

NM: Didn’t think it was a CD player, thought was Walkman?

P: I’ll check that. Music system, did you know was important to him?

NM: Yes

Mr Mellor agreed with the officer that if someone physically changed the volume on Patient 4’s music device that would “perhaps” wind him up. When the officer asked him if it was appropriate to act like that, and whether he thought the videos were a snapshot of what his behaviour was like at Whorlton Hall, Mr Mellow responded “no, I don’t think so. I feel like. I wouldn’t say so, think it was a minute snippet”.

The officer said that Mr Mellor only worked one or two shifts a week and didn’t work with Olivia Davies that often, he was part time, she was fill time, yet he could show him “half a dozen clips of you acting in that way”. Mr Mellor responded “I feel like I do more good than bad, for sure”.

He declined the opportunity to add anything further and Mr Herrmann told the court that Mr Mellor’s second interview concluded shortly after 2pm.

Mr Patton, counsel for Mr Mellor, had a number of questions for DC Simms. Firstly he asked DC Simms questions about Patient 1 and asked whether he agreed that there had been “a lot of discussion in this case about her antipathy towards men”, he did.

MrP: That was a significant focus of your inquiry wasn’t it?

DC S: It was certainly a line of inquiry, yes

MrP: So it would be particularly important to discover for her the gender of the doctor who dealt with her; do you agree?

DC S: Sorry, I don’t know what you mean

MrP: If she didn’t like men, it would be important to know if she was dealt with by a male or female doctor wouldn’t it?

DC S: Patient 1 in her care plan said she didn’t like men on her observations… footage exhibited where Ryan Fuller had a good relationship with her… not fair to say was all men.

In response to a further question from Mr Patton, DC Simms said that he didn’t know whether Patient 1 had a male or female psychiatrist or psychologist. Mr Patton said there was a male occupational therapist in the hospital, and asked DC Simms if he agreed, he responded “if you’re telling me, yes” and DC Simms said that he did not know if the male OT had ever treated Patient 1.

Mr Patton then asked questions about the man button; reading an extract from Mr Mellor’s transcript and saying that it was just bravado and there was a set of keys with a red button with a stick man on it.

MrP: So the button itself has an icon of a man on it?

DC S: I believe so

MrP: Did you ever see one or ask to see one?

DC S: No

MrP: Once you know that it seems different connotation doesn’t it? Button you point to, and said I press the man button but you’re pointing to a button with a man on it?

DC S: That’s what staff referred to it as

Mr Patton then moved to the point in the interview where Mr Mellor had told the officers about the restraint incident of Patient 6 involving X and Y. He asked DC Simms whether X and Y both occupied quite senior positions in Whorlton Hall and he replied yes, he believed one was a senior healthcare assistant and one was a nurse. Mr Patton recaps the transcript of the incident before asking DC Simms what further action he’d taken about it.

MrP: Then this question was asked. Was it reported to the police and he said I don’t know, I raised it with the CQC. Did you raise it with the company about this?

DC S: No

MrP: You didn’t ask them if a senior charge nurse was present when a senior healthcare worker stuck his hand into an open wound in a patient’s head?

DC S: No this was one year before the investigation… we didn’t have capacity to investigate in this investigation previous things that hadn’t been reported to the police

MrP: What do you mean you don’t have capacity?

DC S: Wrong word capacity, scope was XX to May 2019… anything else would be investigated by our safeguarding unit, but not by me

MrP: It is more than just the attack isn’t it, it’s the cover up that’s important here, whether you can trust this organisation to tell the truth?

HHJ: Isn’t this case about the videos?

MrP: No. Its more than the videos, this is the most serious incident at those premises isn’t it?

DC S: No

MrP: In the indictment we’ve got, is a single blow inflicted on anybody?

DC S: Nobody has been charged with any assaults

MrP: This is undoubtedly, if it’s true, a serious assault isn’t it?

DC S: Yes

MrP: On someone already injured?

DC S:Yes

MrP: On someone unable to look after themselves?

DC S: Yes

MrP: There’s a statutory duty on those in the home to report it?

DC S: Yes

MrP: Did they report it to the police?

DC S: Not that I’m aware

MrP: But the home did report it if a patient assaulted staff didn’t it?

DC S: Yes, it went both ways, if patients assaulted staff we were made aware.

MrP: Did you make your supervisors aware of this incident?

DC S: It was already reported to the CQC

MrP: You don’t work for the CQC. Did you make your supervision aware of this?

DC Simms explained the process of information reaching him and said that all information that comes to him is already assessed by his sergeant and another sergeant. They have to read all the paperwork that comes in and were aware of that. They had also read the transcripts of the police interviews “but to answer your question, I didn’t go to my supervisor and draw attention to this incident”.

In response to a question from Mr Patton, DC Simms said that he hadn’t interviewed the people referred to as X and Y, but he had spoken to them and taken a report from the male person that he provided to the Crown Prosecution Service. He said that he “didn’t believe they have served up on that offence”. Mr Patton asked DC Simms if he was aware that X and Y were both working in a nearby care home, the male in a senior capacity, he said he did not know that.

MrP: Did you ask CQC if they were aware of those?

HHJ: aware of what?

MrP: Forgive me, those incidents. Number of aspects to an interview, if a defendant says something you can check it out?

DC S: Yes you can

MrP: So you are accusing defendant of these things, and he says I’m a whistleblower, I’ve gone to CQC, and they did nothing. There’s good reason to check this out, if true it supports what he says about his attitue about patients.

DC S: I don’t believe that incident he talks about in there can in any way justify his behaviour in the footage we’ve seen recorded.

MrP: Did you ask to see the CCTV footage?

DC S: We have it, but it doesn’t go back as far as this incident.

MrP: If they dismissed them presumably they retained the footage which justified the dismissal. Did you ever ask the people who ran this if they could provide that?

DC S: No

Mr Patton then asked DC Simms some questions about the multi disciplinary team. He then asked him if he’d ever inquired whether patients attended any MDT meetings. DC Simms said he had not. Mr Patton asked more questions about MDT meetings and attendance at them.

MrP: And they might specifically ask for member of staff aware of issues in relation to a patient?

DC S: Yes

MrP: You know that, or are you just agreeing with me?

DC S: From the notes I read team made up of all those people, would look at information recorded on daily basis by staff in 4-6 week period. Would have a meeting every 4-6 weeks, experts in those meetings would look to see if careplans needed to be amended, anything added, taken off. Patients were invited to attend, didn’t have to attend but that’s what careplans were for.

MrP: Have you any idea whether any episodes this jury are considering were ever discussed in those MDT meetings?

DC S: MDT meetings form part of medical records which is not something we asked for, so to answer your question Mr Patton, no, I have no idea.

In response to another question DC Simms said that his team had cross referenced the Ulysses restraint records against the footage seen in exhibits and there was corresponding incident records for all incidents recorded, and that his exhibit covered all incidents at Whorlton Hall during the period the investigation ran.

MrP: So in relation to each of the vulnerable patients we are dealing with here, are you able to say yes or no whether Patient 4 ever attended an MDT meeting?

DC S: No, I can not say whether he attended those meetings.

MrP: So you can’t say whether he would be able to give an account at a meeting?

HHJ: The reality is this Mr Patton, if I think, If I may say your questions made very clear. The officer did not seize, did not see the medical records or any notes of the MDT, so we simply don’t know what happened in them so you’ll be saying to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury you must not speculate.

MrP: More specific than that, the other day the officer gave an answer saying some of these people would not be able to communicate at those meetings… are you saying any one of those patients never attended a meeting and gave an account

DC S: No I’m not saying that

MrP: Thank you very much.

Darren Lawton

Mr Herrmann told the court that Darren Lawton’s first interview took place on 24 May 2019, with two officers and his solicitor present. The people present were identified, he was reminded of his right to free legal advice, cautioned and that caution was explained to him and it was ascertained he understood. DC Simms confirmed that to be the case.

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever abused any patients residing there?

DL: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever mistreat any patient in any way?

DL: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever been in any way responsible for the treatment of patients that could be described as cruel?

DL: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever witnessed the mistreatment or abuse of any patients?

DL: No comment

Mr Lawton was asked about his employment at Whorlton Hall, his working patterns, roles and responsibilities, training and experience, the needs of patients at the home, his co-workers and management hierarchies and to all questions he answered no comment.

In relation to his knowledge of careplans and physical intervention with residents, to all questions he responded no comment.

He was interviewed again in July 2020 at Durham Police Station. Mr Herrmann told the jury it was p147 on their transcript and said the usual introductions took place, and everyone is probably sick of him reading them now. He told the court that on this occasion Mr Lawton was also accompanied by an appropriate adult.

P: Some questions about Whorlton Hall Panorama programme aired last year, that’s your reason for attendance here today. Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever abused any patients residing there?

DL: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever mistreat any patient in any way?

DL: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever wilfully neglected any patients?

DL: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever witnessed the mistreatment or abuse of any patients?

DL: No comment

Asked what his role was when working at Whorlton Hall, Mr Lawton said he was a healthcare assistant and his role was to look after anybody who was there.

Asked questions about specific residents, their needs, specific careplans, to all questions he answered that he didn’t remember. Asked if there was any particular reason for not remembering he said “I can’t remember. I can’t remember that far back, over the last year my mental health has got worse”.

Asked what he knew about Patient 6 he said “can’t remember”, asked if he had seen his careplan he said yes. Asked what he could remember about it, whether he’d dealt with Patient 6, and what he was like he responded to all “can’t remember”. Asked how often he dealt with Patient 6 he said “can’t remember but it was a lot”, asked why he dealt with Patient 6 a lot he said he couldn’t remember. Asked if it was something about Patient 6’s behaviour, and asked whether he was violent he said he couldn’t remember.

He responded the same about Patient 5. Asked what he could remember about him he said that he couldn’t remember. Asked what mental health problems he had and whether he’d seen his care plan he said “can’t remember”.

P: Is there anything you genuinely remember about those two people?

DL: Can’t remember

P: Did you remember those two people?

DL: Yes

Asked if there is anything he remembers about those two people, he responded “can’t remember”.

Mr Herrmann tells the court that Mr Lawton was shown clip HJS/27 and DC Simms says that clip reference should be AJS/27. Mr Lawton was shown a two minute clip of himself and Ryan Fuller in Patient 5’s lounge. Asked by the officer if he could see anything wrong with what he showed him there, Mr Lawton asked for a legal break.

The interview was suspended for a break. It resumed with the same people present. Mr Lawton was asked if there was anything he wished to say or discuss after his legal break. There wasn’t anything. The officer then asked about the video footage they’re just watched.

P: Anything you did wrong or believe was wrong?

DL: No comment

P: Any bad practice?

DL: No comment

P: Ryan Fuller says 1-2-3 Maybo. What is Maybo?

DL: Maybo is a restraint technique we are taught

P: So restraint technique used when a patient reached level where physical restraint required?

DL: Can’t remember

P: You wouldn’t use unless the patient needed physically restraining in some form?

DL: Yes

P: So why were you telling Patient 5 to get into position for Maybo restraint?

DL: I didn’t tell him

P: No. There were two of you there, why were you part of that?

DL: I wasn’t part of it, Ryan did… I’ve never seen it before

P: Appreciate you’ve never seen it before, did you think was wrong when you saw that?

DL: No comment

P: Did you report that to anybody?

DL: No comment

P: Ryan is a Senior Care Worker. Anything want to say about that?

DL: Didn’t hear Patient 5 say he didn’t want to do it. I think Patient 5 joined in with it

P: If it’s as innocent as you’re saying it is, why would Ryan say we look like a bunch of bastards?

DL: No comment

The officer shows Mr Lawton the next clip AJS/29 and said there are a number of staff with Patient 6 and that Ryan Fuller winds Patient 6 up throughout a long period, outside, whilst its snowing. It was filmed on 2 February 2019.

P: Did you hear that? I know it’s muffled. Comment made by yourself to Patient 6 to flip the bird, what do you mean by that?

DL: I don’t know, give him the finger.

Mr Lawton says that it is banter.

P: When you say give the finger, you’re talking about stick fingers up at somebody or middle finger up at somebody?

DL: Just a bit of banter

P: Ryan is winding Patient 6 up for a long time at this stage… Ryan is antagonising Patient 6 at this stage, you say flip the finger, Patient 6 flicks the finger, you’re saying that’s a bit of banter?

DL: At the end of the day they’re still human, you can have a laugh with them… trying diffuse the situation by making a laugh out of it

P: Is that something you’ve done before?

DL: Can’t remember

P: Have you seen in careplans it that’s how to diffuse a situation?

DL: Can’t remember

P: Patient 6 goes on to throw something later at Ryan, is winding him up, clearly has effect of antagonising Patient 6. You thought you’d diffuse the situation by getting him to flip the finger?

DL: Yeh make light of it, use it as some distraction.

P: Do you think telling him to [missed it]

DL: I don’t think I did anything wrong.

The officer moves onto asking about Patient 1.

P: At the start of clip you talk about Patient 1 and you say whenever she sees you she knows she’s going to go on the floor.

DL: Just a comment I made up

P: What was the context?

DL: Just made it up. I don’t have reason why I made it up.

When Mr Lawton was asked by officers about the man button he said it was something that he was taught when he first started.

DL: Something I was taught when I first started as a distraction technique, you tell her should I push the man button, she says no and then she calms down.

P: Who taught you that?

DL: One of the seniors when I first started

P: Do you remember which senior trained you?

DL: Can’t remember

[Missed question]

DL: She had men on observations so can’t see why she doesn’t like it.

P: The man button, what would it mean if you did press it?

DL: I don’t know, I’ve never done it.

When Mr Lawton was asked if he recalled offering to fight Patient 5 he said:

DL: the way I worded it was inappropriate… he came at me and I stood my ground

P: In what way?

DL: Just stood my ground, didn’t do anything just stood my ground

P: So you don’t take your keys off, panic alarm off and put them down and say ‘come on then’?

DL: My keys never left my side.

When the officer asked for what purpose he said that he said he didn’t know, and “some of the things I say I don’t know why”.

The officers then discussed with him what he meant by cancelling Christmas for Patient 6. He said that Patient 6 had cancelled it because he didn’t want it and he got it the next day. He said when he took Patient 6’s first present in at 9am it elevated him and he said he wanted to cancel Christmas.

The officer said later in the footage Mr Lawton and another staff member are eating mince pies and Patient 6 asks for one and Mr Lawton said “no you can’t have it because I cancelled Christmas”. Asked about that Mr Lawton said he couldn’t have been eating mince pies because he doesn’t like them and he couldn’t think why he said something.

P: From footage there I thought you told Patient 6 Christmas was cancelled.

DL: I didn’t tell Patient 6 anything, Patient 6 cancelled Christmas himself.

Asked by the officer if he recalled another trigger for Patient 4 was mentioning his mental health, Mr Lawton said he didn’t recall.

P: He doesn’t like the fact he’s under the Mental Health Act. That’s a trigger to wind him up. How do you know it’s a trigger to wind him up if you haven’t read his careplans?

Mr Lawton remained silent

P: You talk about slamming Patient 4 to the floor with Matthew Banner

DL: I can’t remember

P: Did you slam Patient 4 to the floor with Matthew Banner?

DL: Can’t remember

P: Did you write it up?

DL: Can’t remember

P: It’s not written up. Why did you say that by another patient?

DL: Can’t remember.

Asked why others are laughing when he mentions the man button Mr Lawton says he can’t help what others do. The final incident discussed went like this

P: He called you a fat cunt, you barged in and said how can you call anyone a fat cunt have you seen yourself?

DL: Not in those words no

P: What words would you use?

DL: Would just say how dare you use words like that

P: You wouldn’t put it back on himself?

DL: No.

That was the end of the interview. Then Mr Herrmann said that DC Simms wanted to clarify something for the court.

MrH: You were asked questions the other day about the Christmas episode, did you make a mistake officer?

DC S: The Christmas episode isn’t a charged count on the indictment, was a supporting clip

Ms Brown, counsel for Mr Lawton, thanks DC Simms for the clarification and had a couple of further questions for DC Simms.

She checked with him that Mr Lawton’s first interview was on 24 May 2019 at a very early stage of the investigation, DC Simms agreed that it was and that the police wouldn’t have had a chance to go through all the footage at that stage. He described the first interview as a general interview about staff’s role in the home, very generic, using general questions which weren’t specifically asking about the Panorama programme.

Mr Lawton was then interviewed a second time as a voluntary attender over a year later in July 2020. DC Simms explained that “We have to meet certain provision bring people under arrest, already arrested once already, no need to arrest him again so invited him in. If Mr Lawton didn’t come in at our request, then would have to arrest him but that wasn’t the case”.

Ms Brown confirmed with DC Simms that Mr Lawton was free to leave that interview at any time, he was, and that Mr Lawton was accompanied by an appropriate adult because he was being treated as a vulnerable adult at that time because he’d recently been released from hospital. DC Simms said he believed so.

MsB: Mr Lawton said can’t remember that far back, over the last year my mental health has probably got worse. Were yourself and the other interviewing officer aware he’d recently been released from hospital due to his mental health?

DC S: No

MsB: Other than the appropriate adult was there any other adjustment to the interview process?

DC S: No

MsB: Neither yourself or your colleague changed the way you asked questions?

DC S: No, we wouldn’t

MsB: He was still interviewed for 1hr xx minutes

DC S: He had an appropriate adult and could tell us if he needed a break

HHJ: An appropriate adult is to facilitate conversation between police and adult, is that right? They’re not there to give legal advice but look after the welfare of the person interviewed.

DC Simms agrees.

MsB: Thank you your honour, no further questions.

The court also heard the agreed summaries of the Police interviews of John Sanderson and Sabah Mahmood today but I’m going to publish them in another post as I might not get them finished today. The jury also heard the agreed facts, but again I’ll report them in a separate post over the weekend. The jury are not sitting on Monday and Tuesday next week as it is reserved for legal discussions, submissions and the Crown’s response [if I understood correctly].

With thanks to those reading and funding my reporting. If you’re following and would like to support financially you can do so here. Thank you.

Write a reply or comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *