In 2016 Kris Wade was arrested for the murder of his neighbour Christine James. It has since come to light that Wade had previously had several sexual abuse complaints made against him and that there had been irregularities in the way he gained employment with the Abertawe Bro Morganwg University Health Board and was able to remain employed in the face of the sexual abuse allegations made against him. Nothing but an independent inquiry will be able to get to the bottom of the questions that have arisen in this case.
Wade faced a number of claims made by patients with learning disabilities in 2012 and 2013 but although the complaints were investigated, no criminal case was ever brought.
The internal review undertaken for the health board examined the relationship between him and his father – who was then the health board’s mental health and learning disabilities clinical service director – regarding potential conflicts of interest, along with how the allegations were managed.
A series of issues emerged including that Wade obtained employment with the health board “with a standard application form used at that time but only contained three lines of supporting information.” Moreover paperwork was completed apparently after he started employment. In addition there was no evidence of a CRB check.
Wade was placed on special leave on January 18, 2012 after allegations of sexual assault were raised by a female patient in December 2011.
However South Wales Police told the health board that no case would be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and no further action would be taken.
Managers then allowed Wade opportunities to return to work in a non-clinical role while the criminal investigation was carried out.
Further allegations of sexual assault were made in October 2012 by another patient who claimed she had been sexually assaulted by Wade in 2010.
There must be an independent public inquiry to address key concerns because victims, their families and the general public are entitled to know:
- How Wade came to be employed by the Health Board and why he remained in post
- How and why Wade came to be employed in the various posts identified in the “KW Review Report”
- How and why employment procedures were not followed
- How it was that Wade was able to sexually assault three patients
- Why Wade’s employment was not terminated earlier than it was
- Why Wade was not prosecuted in relation to any of the sexual assaults
- Whether safeguarding effective
- whether safeguarding adequately caters for vulnerable patients
- What happens if a vulnerable patient complains of sexual assault?
- How effective is the sharing of information between police forces and health boards?
- Are health boards compromised in investigating complaints if there is a police investigation?
- Are there practical issues that hinder both the police and health boards when investigating complaints?
- Are those with the responsibility of safeguarding and investigating complaints sufficiently trained?
- Could the death of Mrs James have been prevented?
- Are there lessons to be learnt by both the police and health boards from the death of Mrs James?
Only an inquiry established under the Inquiries Act 2005 can access all of the evidence, and answer these questions
The general public is entitled to expect the NHS to have vigorous and effective safeguarding procedures in place but at the moment we do not know how vigorous the safeguarding procedures are.