Mum’s distress after autistic Jack Rogan “attacked” in unit far from home

The eight-year-old is in a mental health centre after writing heartbreaking suicidal notes

A mum said she was “sick to her stomach” when she heard her autistic son had been attacked by an older boy in a mental health unit.

Jack Rogan, eight, is from Dovecot but has been living miles away from home in an NHS centre in Sheffield since just after Christmas, as there were no free mental health beds on Merseyside.

His mum Kerri Linnell, 43, spoke out last year over her son’s seven-week wait for expert help after he tried to kill himself with scissors.

Her campaign for her son and for better NHS services saw officials manage to find him a bed, but the Becton Centre in Sheffield was the nearest one available.

Mrs Linnell said Jack was already struggling to adjust to seeing her for just two hours a day but her nightmare deepened when she was told he had been hit this morning.

She told the ECHO: “The other child was apparently in Jack’s face – Jack pushed him away and then the other child has gone for him. They said his face was red and he was very upset and distressed.

“I was sick to my stomach when I heard. I know he wouldn’t hurt anybody, other than me.

“It shouldn’t happen – they shouldn’t be that close and there should be staff there.

Friends of the family have launched a “Justice for Jack” Facebook page and a petition calling for more beds for children with mental health problems
“I’m in a hotel and I’m not allowed to see him in the day, as they have school activities and do assessments.

“He’s so distressed, crying on the phone asking why I’ve left him and if I love him any more, saying ‘please take me home, mummy’.

“It’s heartbreaking to walk away – I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life.

“I can only see him from 6pm to 8pm, though I was able to see him much more in the holidays.

“I have to put my whole trust in the people in this unit, and pray to God he’s safe and protected.”

A spokeswoman for Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the centre, said: “We do not comment on individual cases. However the safety of children in our care is our top priority at all times, and any concerns are taken seriously and acted on immediately.”

Ms Linnell previously told the ECHO of her shock when Jack had started saying, and writing notes such as: “please, everyone, forget me”, and “burn me alive”.

The family of Jack Rogan, who is autistic, said he had started saying “please everyone forget me”, “burn me alive” and other shocking things over the past year
She said she took him straight to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in October, after he tried to kill himself.

But she said doctors told her there were no beds available on its specialist unit, although they agreed his distress was severe.

Jack had reportedly been put on a ward with no mental health treatment at all – and was still there seven weeks later.

She was relieved when he managed to get a place in Sheffield shortly after she spoke out, and Jack has been there since December 27.

Jack was also inundated with cards and presents from across the world after his mum shared his story.

Ms Linnell said at the time Jack had told her: “People everywhere really do love me, don’t they mummy?”


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