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South Devon man jailed for abuse at Watcombe Hall Hospital, Torquay

0483.20 South Devon man jailed for abuse at Watcombe Hall Hospital image.jpg

Sentenced to 11 years

A 43-year-old man from Shaldon has today been jailed for 11 years for sexually abusing teenage girls at an independent mental health hospital.

Marcus Daniell of Torquay Road, Shaldon, worked as a Senior Care Assistant at Watcombe Hall Hospital in Torquay which provided specialist mental health services to under 18s.

In May 2017 the hospital was placed into special measures after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) deemed it inadequate and in September 2017, it was permanently closed.

In July 2017, officers from the Public Protection Unit were informed of allegations of abuse towards a patient at Watcombe Hall. Further enquires undertaken by officers identified two further victims who subsequently made disclosures. The victims were all aged between 16 and 17 at the time of the offences.

The three girls reported to police that Daniell had sexually assaulted them over a number of months and that the severity of the assaults had escalated over time.

The victims reported that on multiple occasions Marcus Daniell said he loved them and bought them sweets and presents.

After initial statements had been taken from the victims, Daniell was arrested at his home in Shaldon. At first he denied the allegations but the investigation was able to unearth evidence including detailed phone data and text messages in the case against him and in court he entered a guilty plea to 21 offences dated between October 2015 and June 2017.

Marcus Daniell appeared at Exeter Crown Court today [Wednesday 30 September] where he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Detective Inspector Si Costin from the Public Protection Unit said: “This has been a lengthy and protracted investigation and first and foremost I want to recognise the bravery of the victims who came forward and assisted our investigation over many months.”

“Marcus Daniell targeted highly vulnerable people, the very people he was there to support and keep safe.

“A small police team have worked closely with a number of partner agencies over the last three years in order to ensure that he was brought to justice. Following an initial plea hearing, Marcus Daniell changed his plea to guilty, this was only due to the quality of the evidence provided by the victims and the painstaking investigation, which left him very little choice.

“No sentence will accurately reflect the harm that he has caused but I very much hope that his conviction will allow these young women to move forward with their lives”.


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