Child sex offender costs $230,000 a year
Almost $230,000 a year is being shelled out to treat a violent child sex offender in Britain, The Royal Gazette can reveal.
An agreement reached between the Bermuda Hospitals Board and St Andrew’s Healthcare in England to provide mental health services for criminals runs until 2020.
The contract covers people with a criminal background or those seen as being at high risk of committing offences.
It is understood the only patient being treated under the deal is Merrick Seaman, who was jailed for eight years in 2011 for a serious sex assault on a five-year-old girl.
The news came after a list of BHB contracts valued at $50,000 or more, published in the Official Gazette this month, included St Andrew’s, which is in Northampton.
It showed the board agreed a $458,949, two-year contract with the high-security psychiatric hospital, to run from June 2018 to June 2020.
A BHB spokeswoman explained: “St Andrew’s has been contracted to provide forensic mental health services.
“This is a specialised inpatient mental health service for people who have a history of criminal offending or are at high risk of offending.”
The contract was not linked to a specific individual, but only Seaman was receiving care under the agreement.
The BHB spokeswoman declined to confirm the patient was Seaman.
Seaman was moved from Westgate prison last year, but held at the Co-Educational Facility in St George’s for three months.
The 33-year-old was first eligible for parole in April 2013 but it was recommended that his release should be delayed until the risk of him committing further offences was reduced.
He was given another psychiatric review the next year after he said: “I intend to go on a killing spree when I get out of jail.”
Seaman was convicted of wounding another inmate in 2016, which resulted in an additional nine months being added to his sentence.
His earliest release date was June 15 last year, but the Government moved him to the Co-Ed facility two days earlier.
A Supreme Court judgment released last August showed the Ministry of Health and the BHB sought a hospital detention order to allow Seaman to be moved to a British hospital.
Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams said Seaman could be sent overseas for care and treatment and that he should be detained at St Andrew’s.
She said in a written judgment: “The wider purpose is to protect the community from further harm, which Seaman would likely cause if not further detained and treated.”
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, confirmed in October that Seaman was transferred to “a suitable clinical location in the UK” on September 4.
The problem of how to deal with prisoners with psychiatric illness has been discussed for years because of the island’s lack of high-security accommodation in a hospital.
An agreement with St Andrew’s was signed in 2017, but the BHB said at the time that “complex legal considerations” still had to be resolved.
Parliament passed legislation last June to help those who need psychiatric treatment in a “medium or high-security unit not available in Bermuda”.
St Andrew’s, A British charity, said on its website: “St Andrew’s Healthcare provides specialist mental healthcare for people with challenging mental health needs.”
It added: “We care for some of the most clinically complex patients in the mental health system, people who could not, in many cases, be treated elsewhere.
“Many of our patients have been in the criminal justice system and are some of the most vulnerable people being treated anywhere in the health service.
“We develop innovative ways to help our patients to recover, creating a personalised package of care designed around each individual, which focuses on their physical and spiritual wellbeing as well as mental health.”
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