Low-Secure Punishment, Priory Group Private Sector Experiences, Ty Cwm Rhondda.
About 18 months ago I was sectioned yet again under Mental Health Act and sent up to Talygarn where yet again I was subjected to Dr Basu. I had been trying for 8 years in as diplomatic a way as possible to remove this vile man from my care. We had never seen eye to eye. I found him to be a racist Muslim who even had me banned from drinking alcohol in my local pub, The Castle Inn, Caldicot. His corruption knew no bounds and he constantly attacked me with treatment against consent giving me the maximum dose of Clopixol depot injection, in spite of medical proof demonstrating my allergy from several specialists including Gastroenterologists and Neurologists. Even the manufacturers of Clopixol, Lundbeck, after I raised used the yellow / red flag complaint system, had acknowledged that I should not under any circumstances be given this drug. I’d written on multiple occasions to Chief Executive of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Trust pleading for a change in medics.
Basu carried on, revoking leave until I took this endofterror.org website down, Putting me in for long term care and proceeding with Clopixol depot injections. You meet the psychiatrist once a week in the mental hospital. Monday mornings was Basu’s ward round yet he was always at least 2-3 hours late. I was so frustrated and just had to find a way to get a change in consultant. He’d be openly racist to me as far as I was concerned as a White UK citizen so, wound up, I marched into the meeting and just said: “Look, you curry muncher, I’ve just had enough of you!” and walked back out.
It’s not something I’m proud of and I’m not a racist but this was mild racism. My thinking was it would make him actually change the consultant. His partner, another Indian, filed a complaint along with Basu that I’d threatened to kill them and attacked them. He labelled me as a violent racist and I was immediately removed from Talygarn Acute Ward and transferred down to St. Cadoc’s in Caerleon to the PICU (Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit) locked ward. Immediately I was put on fullscale meds as punishment.
At the time on the ward a criminal patient from Caerphilly was causing loads of problems. He actually raped a young girl with Learning Difficulties. He got away with it and was actually being transferred out of the secure system and into the open wards.
After about fortnight in there, another Indian / Pakistani psychiatrist, this time a lady, appeared on the ward. She said that she was there to assess me for transfer to a low secure hospital in the Rhondda Valley which is in deepest Wales and really really far from my home and any potential visitors. I said straight away that it was ridiculous trying to send me there. I refused to see her but she signed the papers and arranged for my transfer. Ty Cwm Rhondda is a private hospital run by the Priory Group. It is a low-secure hospital which means it was up in the bracket towards the Broadmoor, Rampton , Ashworth (Big Three) High Security end of the mental hospital league table. These stays are long term units with very restricted freedom and for forensic patients. I’ve got zero criminal record so can’t be a forensic patient but for years they’ve been hammering me in the forensic system anyway, despite protests.
The other patients who had experience of this Ty Cwm Rhondda place started telling me horror stories straight away, in order to prepare me. None of the Beechwood staff were happy about my transfer and felt it very unfair. The worst thing that I was worried about was that Ty Cwm Rhondda was a strict no-smoking hospital. I am a heavy smoker and about the only peace and enjoyment you ever get in mental hospitals is to smoke cigarettes. I was going to have to go instant cold turkey.
Luckily I had a couple of weeks left on Beechwood prior to my transfer. I became the first ever PICU patient to get escorted leave into the community and managed to meet up with my mate Wally in Newport with some of the staff. We also went back to Caldicot to the coffee shop and did a few other fun things. Then came the dreaded transfer day and I was driven all the way up to the Rhondda Valley near Tonypandy by a couple of nurses. I was smoking like crazy before having to be admitted to the new shithole.
Sneakily, I hid as much tobacco and smoking paraphernalia as possible on me so I could smuggle stuff in. On admission I was given a thorough search plus a metal detector scan by two brutal rude and lying nurses. They said I’d be able to go out for a cigarette several hours after admission and that I’d have internet access straight away on the new ward. This was utter bullshit.
I was escorted to the ward upstairs which housed ten all male patients and had to pass through a series of locked security doors. I was worried about meeting the other patients. It was a step up for me. And not being Welsh and speaking with a more or less Bristol accent I was worried about not being welcome by the local staff at all. This did prove to be the case.
Within ten minutes of being on the new ward I was attacked by a great big fat, sweaty, hairy Greek guy and punched straight in the face. I just didn’t react at all. Last thing you want to be doing in a low-secure place is getting into any bother at all as you will be processed up the chain to medium and high secure. The whole situation already stunk to high heaven of corruption and it was simply and injustice for me to be there and I aimed to be out ASAP. The aim was for me to be kept there for at least three and a half years. It was a horrendous prospect.
I had a private room with a broken toilet and sink which stunk of raw sewage. After the attack I kept myself to myself in my room where luckily I managed to keep smoking with my smuggled tobacco.
I met some of the other patients, most of whom seemed friendly enough. Sharing stories was a bit scary Most had gone straight to Ty Cwm Rhondda at the end of their jail sentences when they had been sectioned on their release date in prison and given indeterminate home office sections to be locked away in Mental Health secure system. There was a gangster from Sheffield who’d cut his teeth in large scale drug trafficking. He’d been jailed for slitting a gypsy’s throat in an argument and had just finished serving an attempted murder sentence. He took me under his wing although we later fell out. There was a guy from Newport who’d been jailed 40 times for repeated house burglary and was only in his late twenties. There was a committed serious arsonist who’d been locked in the system, either jail or mental health from the age of about 15. Most of these patients had already been in Ty Cwm Rhondda for several years, the longest serving guy I think had done 8 years there.
In your room you could buy a TV, Radio or Playstation and most of the guys had their digs kitted out. I ended up buying a cheap radio and just listened to the BBC World Service constantly. I didn’t want to make myself comfortable. I knew that my only chance of an early escape was the Appeals Court where I was scheduled a hearing after 2 months. I spent every waking hour preparing for my court case. I told all the patients and staff that I would be winning this case and they just laughed and mocked me and said I had zero chance at all of getting out.
The staff in there were completely vile. At the best of times there is a big divide within psychiatric systems: a ‘them and us’ mentality. Psychiatric nurses are brainwashed into believing that they are totally sane and patients are subhuman. They treated you like slaughterhouse cattle in Ty Cwm Rhondda. There was a lot of former screws working there and luckily some of them knew a DJ friend of mine who was a prison warder with them in HMP Parc in Bridgend. Some of them also knew a Welsh DJ who I was connected to on Facebook.
I was always under the impression from press reports that Priory hospitals were good and much better than hospitals in the State sector. Pick up any tabloid newspaper and you’ll read about such and such celebrity popstar or sportsman going through rehab in the Priory Clinic outside London. I’ve known quite a few people who have indeed been treated here. The NHS were financing my treatment at Ty Cwm Rhondda and it cost the taxpayer something like £25000 per week for my stay there.
You’d think at those prices that I’d benefit from a decent service. The food was all cooked ‘fresh’ on the premises. You had a choice of two meals per mealtime and had to select every meal choice in advance at the start of each week. I’ve never in my life tasted such vile cooking. The ingredients were of such poor quality. Everything was bland and undercooked. And everything, be it a Mexican burrito, a roast dinner or a curry (which I was boycotting), all tasted the same. It was food that you wouldn’t find in a Pig Swill bucket. Inedible. I immediately went on starvation and some of the guy’s could leave the ward on escorted leave with staff so I started sneaking in Pot Noodles that they’d buy for me and lived entirely off them. Once a week on a Saturday night we were allowed a takeaway and to be fair the local Chinese was indeed very good.
There were lots of security measures but surprisingly unlike even in acute hospitals you had free access to a constantly boiled urn of boiling water. Unsupervised you could access boiling water at any time of day. I mean if this wasn’t just asking for trouble God only knows? Luckily during my stay there were no urn incidents.
It was difficult sleeping at night. The Fat Greek guy spent all his time barking like a dog. The bloke in the room next to me, a guy from Cornwall, screamed constantly at his voices 24-7. And the ward faggot regularly used to run into my room pulling his pants down and asking me to bum him. Needless to say I wasn’t amused.
The staff smelt the smoke in my room and I was stripsearched twice (by KFC). Luckily I still managed to keep hold of the smuggled baccy.It kept me in the game this last pouch of 50g Golden Virginia. I managed to run of rizlas first and just smoked toilet roll rollies for the last dregs. Some of the other patients cottoned on to me having baccy and managed to con a rollie or two out of me. Then they grassed me up which is why they started stripsearching me so thoroughly.
Satanic worship was openly encouraged on the ward and it’s not pleasant trying to sleep at night when you just hear Satanic chanting passing down the corridor. Not my cup of tea at all.
I was cranked onto the absolute maximum dose of Clopixol. Basu’s legacy continued. The new psychiatrist Dr Byrappa who you only got to see once a fortnight , is without a doubt the most evil looking human being that I have ever encountered in my life. Her eyes have a deepset shadow and she looks like Skeletor from the HeMan cartoons. Her hair is black and wiry and looks like it’s emerging from a shrunken tribal cannibal ritual skull like you might see in a New Zealand Maori museum. Her lanky Welsh social worker partner, Hayley, her sidekick is just pure unadulterated social worker scum. She’d do anything to ruin your life and wellbeing. It would be a top job for an SS scumbag.
Activities were virtually non-existent and it took a month for me to be even allowed into the ward garden and to get some fresh air. 15 minutes of escorted freedom. Shrink gave me no escorted leave, there was no internet access, all my possessions including mobile phone seized. There was a payphone that you could use if you had the right coins and I used to ring my ex missus who was the only real contact I had with the outside world in terms of friends and family.
After a month they introduced a new policy of allowing monitored prison vapes and this did change the ward a lot for the better. As patients, our days revolved around the 5 ten minute breaks we’d have where we’d have to lineup to collect our prison vapes and could go off to our rooms and have a quick puff. We were only allowed to purchase tow or three of these a week and so had to make them last. Most of the lads were caning theirs quick and ran out after a day or so. I could make mine last and we ended up all sneaking into my room together where I would share out my vape. Got to know some of the guys a lot better and gained some respect by doing this.
Occupational therapy activities were virtually non-existent. An example of the shite we had to do was sit around being lectured to about beard-grooming by a narcissistic ward manager who fancies himself so much he thought we all wanted to be like him and grow a shitty little goatee beard. It’s the biggest load of nonsense I have sat through in my life. And with his bodybuilding mate who I thought looked like KFC bargain bucket with all his watery muscled out gymfit body I thought that they made the perfect homosexual couple. Absolutely insane the staff, properly certified, far worse than any patients there.
After about 5 or 6 weeks I was given some escorted leave in the community and we went into the local town to have a cup of coffee. It was a Godsend if very very boring. The local area is pretty grim and impoverished. It made even my hometown of Caldicot look like New York City. Just a rundown Valleys town, one road in, one road out and a battered old Iceland supermarket the highlight of the local shops. It was so far for any visitors plus they all had to be vetted. My ex missus managed to go through the system and I had one visit with her which was supervised by a nurse whereby our whole conversation was recorded and monitored and there was zero physical contact. I’ve never been treated so inhumanely in all my life.
Dr Basu and his sidekick kept dropping in to check on my progress Judith Paget had assigned him the task of inspecting my stay there and to justify the vast sums of money being spent by the NHS in this private sector. Obviously Basu totally endorsed everything. He used to sit there giggling at me saying how if I ever did manage to get out of there how I would be going to jail for the criminal offences he had registered with the police about me. Indeed the police were regularly contacting the ward and trying to build together a criminal case against me. This has been an active feature of my life since 1995 when constant police harassment entered my life. Still to this day, I have no criminal record whatsoever. Yet here I was in the forensic system surrounded by some of the most serious criminals in the UK.
One day the Greek, sweaty barking dog bloke, stole a food knife and the ward was put on lock down. We were locked into our rooms with no food or drink or vapes for about 8 hours as he wouldn’t return the knife. Eventually police rozzer Heddlu scum came in and shot him with a taser and he got sent to a Medium Secure Unit somewhere.
The worst thing for me during my stay was that it was during Liverpool’s Champions League Final against Real Madrid (which we lost). I tried to move heaven and earth to watch this match on television. I campaigned along with another LFC fan for weeks ahead just trying to sort watching the game. I went to Istanbul in 2005 and to actually have to miss an LFC CL Final is heartbreak. All the promises proved to be false and we couldn’t watch the game but I managed to listen to some of it on the radio. Sounded pretty diabolical to be honest and the result didn’t help to ease any depression.
Every day I spent preparing myself for the Appeals court case. I was on the blower to Confreys and my solicitor, the lovely Beth Davies, as much as possible. I was writing to and ringing the offices every day of my local Assembly Member, John Griffiths and also MP, Jessica Morden. Their staff to be honest kept me sane and were happy to chat and discuss every problem I had. A Labour vote for me in the forthcoming election is just a no-brainer. These guys are so busy and have very important work to do yet never once did they fail to speak to me and assist me in the direst of situations, in my hour of need. I contacted my university – MLANG department, Cardiff. I arranged for several of the teaching staff and professors to provide written references for the court. This they did.
Pretty soon the day of the Appeal came around. I was so nervous. These appeals are only every successful and found in patients’ favour about 5% of the time, no matter how good your case is, and that is from acute hospitals. I had about a 1% chance of winning and my solicitor really said it was unwinnable. My best Flapsandwich made his way up to support me in court and say his bit and after several hours trying to get past the Ty Cwm Rhondda security he finally gained entry to the court. My social worker dodged out completely, the cowardess that she is. She sent some replacement from the Hywel Dda concentration camp HQ who I’d never met in my life.
The hearing lasted about 6 hours. My solicitor Beth Davies of Confreys (Wales’ finest mental health law firm), was absolutely on top form. Flapsandwich spoke very very passionately in my favour, moving the court. I was grilled. The opposition side were so ill prepared and took for granted that they would win. They never once even contemplated that they could be beaten. Byrappa, the shrink, kept blabbering on about how it was necessary that I stay there as they had great plans fro psychology treatment yet Beth pointed out that if it was such a priority then why did they not even employ a psychologist in the hospital and why had I not had a single session. I spoke articulately, calmly and made a good impression on the sitting panel of judges. I was desperate. I don’t think my life has ever before been hanging in such a balance as here. Ultimately, when the court was presented with the written statements from my university tutors, it must have swayed the whole process. They said how I was a model pupil and how critical the education system was to me health and wellbeing. I’d also submitted myself about 40-50 pages of written evidence for the court.
Ultimately a decision was made. I bloody won and got a complete discharge there and then. My solicitor Beth gave me a big hug and kiss and was overjoyed and even the miserable Flapsandwich seemed chuffed although secretly I think he wanted me to be held their permanently lol. He was still having a huge row with the staff who chucked him out onto the street straight after the hearing. All I wanted to do after the victory was get outside for a quick cigarette. They wouldn’t let me. The head nurse Jamie was so upset and angry by the decision. Byrappa had smoke coming out of her wiry hair and hollow eye-sockets. They hadn’t made any plans for me winning and I don’t think anyone had ever won an appeal there before. From all this security they now had to let me straight back into the real world and freedom. They said I had to take all my belonging or they would burn them all. I asked for a lift home (which is usually the done thing in state sector hospitals after winning an appeal) and they said ‘ Not a Chance’. They wouldn’t get a taxi. Eventually after loading all my stuff into black bags they agreed that they would keep it locked up for a few days so I could collect it later. I said my goodbyes to the patients, most of whom couldn’t believe I was off and had won. I chucked them my prison vape. Didn’t even manage to get my cash from the staff who later stole it all.
Got outside, raced to the local newsagents, got a pack of fags and puffed till nicotine flooded my entire system – perfect distress and bliss. Flaps lent me a tenner for the train and we exited the shithole that was the Rhondda Valley and headed for Cardiff. Took me about 3-4 hours to get home to Caldicot and they threw a party for me and I got totally and utterly twatted in raucous celebration. I still bear the scars from this horrid experience. I’d love to now how all the taxpayers’ money is spent here. The complaints procedure fro Priory Group is totally defunct. This is the most hideous, corrupt , inhumane sector of the Mental Health system that I have experienced as a 22 year veteran of the system. The South Wales cabal of Asian psychiatrists will dump you here as prey for the evil Byrappa if you antagonise them so be careful folks! I’m sure that they would do anything on earth to get another crack at me so I shall endeavour to be careful in the future. It was the wrong place to be for me, and the court agreed on this.
Thanks to all those that did support me through the worst time of my life. Here’s to the future! I have raised a serious complaint with the government about this Ty Cwm Rhondda hospital and will keep the End Of Terror website updated with news on the case as it emerges.
These are the stories of ‘Los Desaperacidos’ – The Disappeared. The UK’s hidden prison system.