A Christmas Tale of Autistic lives. And Cygnet’s £12,500 a week NHS bonanza.

matthew%20olay%20op%2016-03-02%20rh_0302t054627-mov-00_00_00_00-still001“The most vulnerable people in our society are being abused by the system. They’re children.”

“It doesn’t seem real. Like it shouldn’t be possible.”

Isabelle Garnet, Mathew’s mother.

The fates of Mathew Garnet at 15 and Will Perks at 14, are typical of many autistic teenagers.

‘Experts’ tell us, that autistics develop ‘mental’ disorders, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, as Mathew and Will had done, but these are  diagnosed from reactions to society, care and education.

And are often merely symptoms of their Autism.

The most worrying and increasing label is psychosis.

Why and how this is diagnosed is unclear, experts merely stating,

‘the link between autism and mental health is complex’.

But what is known is that psychosis justifies powerful medication- anti psychotics.

And  parents remark it ’often made matters worse’.

And increase labelling results in more money for ‘education’, ‘assessment and treatment’ and ‘care’ but not at home.

But, if parents can’t cope, with predictability violent reactions to incidents/ inadequate/ change of education the only thing they can do is call the police.

As no agency -social services, GP, education provider- is prepared to get involved in an emergency .

Emergency help, and if necessary sedation, should be provided by GPs or other specialist services.

But instead, our most vulnerable, are disproportionately ‘pathwayed’ into NOW only private hospitals for years and their lives destroyed.

As, Mathew’s and Will’s were, when they were processed illegally under MHA section- as this is not ‘treatment’ nor determinable- into psychiatric wards.

Wards where many fit, like Stephanie Brincliffe and those in St Andrews, die young of ‘natural causes’, 99% of deaths may not even be being investigated.

Our NHS spends, unjustifiable/ extortionate sums of up to £12,500 a week, to lock up autistics in secure units like Cygnet Woking, where Mathew and Will were taken.

Regardless of the abuse and outcomes .

Mathew was happy at home.

He liked the Teletubbies, Alvin & the Chipmunks, and going to his local swings.

He adored swimming.

“He swims in his own idiosyncratic style,” his mother laughed.

But his specialist weekly boarding school had,

“raised concerns that Matthew may be having, possibly psychotic episodes’

Despite their £4000 a week fee, his mother remarked,

“ we were seeing a gradual regression. What self-help skills he had – the hand-washing, the hair-washing, wiping his own bottom – those skills had gone right down.”

This mirrors exactly, my own daughter’s experience in her NAS placement.

She also at 15, even down to the psychotic episodes.

Which were in fact her care workers voice that she echoed repeating her words of abuse in the same accent, yet this was interpreted as her ‘hearing voices’

Matthew was anxious, as he was going to be moved to St Andrews in Northampton, over a 100 miles away.

As my daughter was to be, if her CAMHS ‘assessment and treatment’, did not cure her aggressive behaviour/’psychotic’ episodes which it could not, as it was caused by a faecal impaction and abuse in her NAS school.

Mathew’s father described, how Mathew then

“ decided in his head it was Isabelle’s fault, and went straight for her, with his fists. Red mist doesn’t describe it. I was terrified. I told Isabelle to get out of the house, and I basically lay on top of him, trying to restrain him for the next 30 minutes, while he punched and head butted me.”

His mother Isabelle rang the police.

And Mathew was sectioned to Cygnet Woking, where, as his mother remarked his £12,500 ‘assessment and treatment’ was

“the equivalent of being left on an A&E trolley for six months”.

Mathew was desperately unhappy and pulled his hair out, as my daughter had done in her NAS school and his head was shaved.

He kept asking his Mum why he was in prison and begging to go home.

When he was attacked by another inpatient, whilst playing on his Nintendo, his wrist was swollen and fractured, but on the excuse that ‘he had not expressed pain’, he was not taken to A and E for 24 hours.

After six-months of endless pleading to NHS England, the local authority and official bodies had achieved nothing, his parents launched a public campaign .

And were interviewed on national TV, as part of the government’s campaign to close public mental inpatient NHS services.

Despite the fact that Mathew was holed up in a private inpatient bed.

And despite, the by now, £ 339,000 paid to Cygnet for effectively nothing, the media and our PM, insist that lack of proper care is due to a shortage of money.

‘stuck in a system short of funds and beds, especially for adolescents’.


After a plea in Parliament by Mathew’s MP Mathew was removed to the place he had been originally going to a purported autistic specialist 110 newly built million pound unit NHS money Unit in St Andrews Northampton.St Andrew’s where he was placed in an autism and learning disability ward.

The institution said it provided specialist autistic care, tailored to an individual’s needs. But his parents soon became worried.

In his first five months on the unit Matthew was restrained or secluded 11 times, particularly when being given injections.

Mathew was allegedly pulling his hair out and was frozen with anxiety, often unable to speak.

On one visit his parents claimed to notice excrement on Matthew’s shoe, as he had soiled himself and not been cleaned properly.

Will Perks was also pathwayed to Woking Cygnet .

His story is an even more shocking account of the abuse of the autistic for profit.

Will was transferred from his specialist school to a mainstream one, were he was bullied, and became depressed. Eventually refusing to go to school.

And then another boy punched him in the face at a local skate park on taking offence at something he’d said. Will was sociable but could appear childish.

Desperate, Will swallowed some pills in an incident at home, his family panicked, it was not an overdose.

But the only help Will received, was for the NHS to use the incident, as the excuse to section Will for his own safety.

As there were no beds near his family’s home in Bristol, he was sent to a ward in Cygnet Bury for three months.

In December last year, Will now 15, was transferred to an inpatient wing in Bristol, but escaped, just before Christmas, hoping to find his way back home to see his mum.

Police found him, and when they tried to detain him, he became distressed, and kicked an officer, as arrested and placed in a police cell for 28 hours.

And was sectioned on Christmas Eve to the same Cygnet ward as Mathew in Woking.

Where his mother said

’ there’s a lack of communication, they get his meds wrong. I had to report them because someone threatened him and said, ‘If you don’t stop it I’m going to punch your effing face in.’

“Another member of staff was restraining him and pulled his hand right back and hurt him. Both of which I complained about and both of which have been sorted. Both members of staff admitted it. It went through all the right procedures for safeguarding and the hospital was just saying, ‘It’s not unusual I’m afraid for this industry.’

“The staff at the hospital say they don’t want Will there – he’s on a ward with people with very serious mental health problems, including serious self-harmers, and he’s witnessing all that. He shouldn’t be there.”


All Will and Mathew want and wanted, was to be at home with the people they loved, and some control over their lives.

But this will never happen, as they are cash cows.

Mathew is now in St Andrews  read here what has happened to him there


Will’s pathway is likely to be there, or similar.

But we will never know , as their stories, were only made known, because of a political turf war between public and private providers, and the fact they were under 18, so could not be silenced under the MCA  .

As they will soon be 18,  it is likely, their parents may already be gagged under interim  orders.

So no information can be forthcoming for the rest of their lives either about them or their services.




  1. Gosh, this is mind blowing and scary reading. Where is the humanity and justice and the right support that these young people need. It’s misuse of money too. Money which could be spent on resources for them nearer home.


  2. The point is, these children, should never have been removed from home in the first place, if the state really wanted to help them and their families.

    Incidents, should have been dealt with at home, and parents given support.

    And if needed short respite, or 24/7 protection, modifications in the home, proper medication, even ketamine guns, which I believe are used by strangers in residential care, it would be much cheaper..

    ‘Education’ and local community provision has deliberately been made inadequate, as unaccountable, and the object is to write the autistic off, and encage for life for max profit.

    The distance of provision from home, is only because, the autistic /LD are being wrongly, but deliberately, fed into a patwayed/commissioned systems, which are not yet sufficiently up and running, to have the beds nearer home.

    This, excepting for making allowed supervised visits easier, does not solve the problem.

    Thank you for your comment.

    As we have seen, this is not about service, or humanity but profit, and has been made deliberately so by successive governments.

    How else would the NHS/social services, be allowed to remove youngsters for effectively ever, to be abused by itinerant carers in locked wards/community living, and now 4 years after Winterbourne, which was a private venture capital owned home,and the abuse was known about for 2 years by CQC and police before Panorama .

    Best Wishes,

    The problem has been created for unaccountable huge profir deliberately as no one is helping our most vulnerable and their parents.


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