Suspended sentence for disabled attack

A KESGRAVE mum today criticised a decision not to jail a former nurse who assaulted her severely disabled son.Ex-family friend Jan Ryder was handed a six-month suspended sentence for attacking brain-damaged Darren Platts as he slept on Boxing Day 2003.

A KESGRAVE mum today criticised a decision not to jail a former nurse who assaulted her severely disabled son.

Ex-family friend Jan Ryder was handed a six-month suspended sentence for attacking brain-damaged Darren Platts as he slept on Boxing Day 2003.

His mother, Jennifer Dowd, of Adams Place, Kesgrave, said: "It is just not fair.

"Jan doesn't realise what she has done to our family. She must be laughing and I am very angry."

The assault shattered a strong friendship between the two women and destroyed a deep-seated trust.

Ryder looked after Mr Platts on an informal basis when he visited the family home on holidays.

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Mr Platts, 28, suffered severe brain damage from a drugs overdose in 1997 and now lives in a specialist care home in Norwich.

Ryder was said to have have referred to Mr Platts as "brain dead" before grabbing and scratching his neck.

The attack prompted a social services review which came to a devastating conclusion for Mrs Dowd last week when she was told she could not care for her son permanently at home.

She is adamant the attack made social services more cautious and had a big part to play in the decision.

Mrs Dowd, 50, said: "Social services have been working for years to get him home. We had that incident and now we can't have him home permanently. I would say it was because of Jan."

A social services spokesman said: "A very careful decision was taken in order to give Darren the secure, 24-hour care with a nurse available.

"He would have to be in a specialist care setting, and therefore he could not be permanently at home."

Sentencing Ryder at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court yesterday, district judge David Cooper said her actions were "shocking and inexplicable".

He continued: "It was an act of violence towards a severely disabled man who was unable to defend himself.

"Had it not been for the fact that I have heard from the mother that you had shown the milk of human kindness to this individual, I would have sent you to prison."

Ryder was ordered to pay £100 compensation and costs of £364 and was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years.