The Mail on Sunday - - NEWS -

NO case bet­ter il­lus­trates the poignancy of this is­sue – and the sums spent– than that of Tony Hick­mott. He has been locked up for al­most 18 years at Cedar House, a 40-bed se­cure unit near Can­ter­bury owned by Hun­ter­combe, de­spite his mother Pam say­ing he never harmed any­one when liv­ing at home.

Pam says she was told in 2003 it was cost­ing £600,000 a year to keep her son in con­di­tions she de­scribes as ‘worse than a prison’. Since then, fees are likely to have risen. But even if they had stayed the same, this one case has cost tax­pay­ers more than £10 mil­lion. ‘He could have been in the best ho­tel for this money,’ says Pam. ‘He’s only got autism but he’s been left so dam­aged by this.’

A re­cent in­spec­tion found safety and ser­vices at Cedar House needed im­prove­ment. Hun­ter­combe says the typ­i­cal length of stay there is six to 12 months and fees are agreed with the NHS.

‘SO DAM­AGED’: Tony Hick­mott with his mother Pam

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