Whorlton Hall

Whorlton Hall

Whorlton Hall, near Barnard Castle, Durham was an independently run specialist hospital.  Although it was privately run, it was funded by the NHS. It is now closed. The BBC Panorama programme, in 2019, appeared to show vulnerable adults being mocked, intimidated and restrained.


9 people have been summonsed to appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court on 9 November 2021 to answer a charge or charges, of ill treatment or wilful neglect of an individual by a care worker, under Section 20 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

The charges follow a police investigation by Operation Sarto, an investigation by Durham Constabulary.

The Accused

The accused, all former workers, are:

  • John Sanderson, 24, from Willington
  • Darren Lawton, 46, from Darlington
  • Niall Mellor, 24, from Bishop Auckland
  • Sara Banner, 31, from Newton Aycliffe
  • Matthew Banner, 41, from Newton Aycliffe
  • Ryan Fuller, 26, from Startforth
  • Sabah Mahmood, 26, from Kelloe
  • Peter Bennett, 52, from Darlington
  • Karen McGee, 53, from Darlington

Court Appearance

The 9 are due to appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court on 9 November 2021.

Police Statement

A spokesperson for the police said, "Detectives investigating the case have worked through a significant amount of complex material relating to the patients who were cared for at the hospital and there has been detailed consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.

"From the outset of the investigation, the police have also worked closely with a range of safeguarding agencies to ensure that the patients were safely accommodated and receiving appropriate care. Professional support has been offered to patients and their families."