Father of autistic child locked in 12ft room wins court battle after council tried to GAG him

A devastated father who is forced to speak to his severely autistic daughter through a hole in a door has won an extraordinary legal battle to talk about their plight after a council tried to gag him.

Jeremy from Walsall has now revealed his 17-year-old child Bethany is fed and talked to through the hole in the metal door to her tiny cell in a psychiatric hospital.

Bethany has been locked away for almost two years with just a mattress and a chair in a 12ft by 10ft room which costs £13,000 a week to theNHS.

Outraged by his daughter’s treatment for autism and sever anxiety, Jeremy began a social media campaign to free her.

But last week he was taken to coFurt for his posts, as Walsall council sought an injunction to ban him from broadcasting details about her.

This would have meant he was breaking court imposed rules if he talked about her health or the facility she was being held in.

‘The attempt to silence me was never about caring for Bethany, it was never about protecting Bethany’s rights,’ the ex-teacher told The Times.

‘It was purely there to silence me from bringing to the forefront the failures of the local authority, NHS England and St Andrews hospital.’

Jeremy a former teacher won the battle to talk about his daughter's case at the Royal Courts of Justice in London (pictured) 

Jeremy a former teacher won the battle to talk about his daughter's case at the Royal Courts of Justice in London (pictured) 

Jeremy a former teacher won the battle to talk about his daughter’s case at the Royal Courts of Justice in London (pictured) 

Jeremy from Birmingham, backed by two pro-bono barristers and Mencap, successfully fought the injunction and won the right to talk about her case.

Walsall council must now pay Bethany’s father’s costs and said he was free to discuss her case but ruled that their surname should not be disclosed.

The authority argued it only wanted to prevent her identification in her own interests.

Bethany’s 50-year-old father has explained how his daughter was detained under the Mental Health Act and 21 months later is still at St Andrews Healthcare, a private psychiatric unit at St Andrews Hospital Northampton.

The girl is being kept in a room at St Andrews Healthcare, a private psychiatric unit at St Andrews Hospital Northampton

The girl is being kept in a room at St Andrews Healthcare, a private psychiatric unit at St Andrews Hospital Northampton

The girl is being kept in a room at St Andrews Healthcare, a private psychiatric unit at St Andrews Hospital Northampton

Because of what experts at the hospital said were ‘self harm’ and ‘aggressive’ incidents, Bethany has been kept in the seclusion room.

However, her father who must talk to her through a hatch while kneeling down outside her ‘cell’ was determined to fight it and ordered better conditions for her.

Her detainment is legal unless a tribunal or doctors decide otherwise.

Dan Scorer, the head of policy at Mencap, said: ‘The local authority used taxpayers’ money to try to silence him from publicly talking about human rights violations.’

In a heart breaking reflection of her life right now Bethany was asked to draw pictures to thank the people who supported her. As well as smiley faces she drew a part of the door she is locked behind every day.

According to NHS figures obtained by The Times the number of disabled children in secure units has more than doubled, from 110 in March 2015 to 250.

Professionals have now agreed to move Bethany to a separate secure unit with two rooms.

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