A pensioner with Alzheimer’s who was HANDCUFFED by police at a care home has died two months after his ordeal, relatives revealed today.
The family of tragic Keith Hyrons, 77, say he never recovered from the “brutish” tactics adopted by West Mercia Police officers who detained him under the Mental Health Act on September 4.
Distraught wife Valerie, 74, said the grandad-of-two was left “terrified and shaken” after being cuffed by police at Howbury House in Malvern, Worcs.
Keith stopped eating after the ordeal at the hands of “heavy-handed cops” and went on to lose HALF of his body weight.
The retired BT worker – who had suffered with Alzheimers for five years – weighed just six stone when he passed away a different nursing home on November 8.
Yesterday his devastated family said they were 100 per cent sure the incident with police had ultimately led to Keith’s death.
Valerie, a retired nurse who had been married to Keith for 55 years, said: “After he was handcuffed his condition really deteriorated.
“He was really shaken and terrified by what happened – I’m 100 per cent sure this is what caused him to get lower and lower.
“It was awful to watch, our family felt helpless as we just watched him slip away. He just have up after that incident with police.
“Because he stopped eating, he went from 12 stone to just six stone, he lost all that weight in about a month.
“My husband was a caring and kind man and extremely popular, there were over 300 people at his funeral earlier this month and he will be sorely missed by everyone.”
The pensioner had checked in at Howbury House after his wife took a trip to Spain to get some much needed rest from caring full-time for her husband.
But within just hours of his arrival, the couple’s son Leighton, 40, was called to say his father was upsetting some residents.
Val believes this was because dementia sufferers have a tendency to “lash out” and the home should have been able to deal with his behaviour.
After being cuffed Keith was then sectioned for 28 days at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bromsgrove, Worcs.
He was transferred to Park House Nursing Home in Bewedly, Worcs., where he died.
The family has now called for police to receive better training for dealing with people with dementia or mental health issues.
Val, from Kidderminster, Worcs., added: “People in those sort of places are supposed to be looking after dementia sufferers.
“They should know what action to take, the family knew how to control him, although instead of calling us straight away they called the police.
“Officers came round and Keith was still agitated, they brutally restrained him by handcuffing him and cut his wrists on the cuffs -they were way too heavy-handed.
“It was awful, it is a horrible thing to hear about the person you love.
“It is hard for me to imagine the pain he went through on that day, you don’t handcuff a 77-year-old man, it just isn’t right, although the police said they were in their rights to do so.
“There was no need for them to do what they did, it was too much for him, he was clearly confused being in new surroundings and needed to be cared for properly.
“People should know about dementia, it is common nowadays and people should know how to deal with it, not handcuff pensioners.
“I dropped my husband at that place so I could get some rest and they could care for him for a week.
“I wasn’t going to go away for years and years, just a week’s holiday.
“More people need to know about dementia and care home workers and police should be getting better training to deal with sufferers.”
A spokesman for West Merica Police said: “I can confirm we have received a complaint regarding the handling of Mr Hyrons and we are investigating.”
A spokesman for Dementia UK said: “The issue of appropriate respite for people living with dementia and their families needs to be addressed urgently by our society.
“Respite should be in a setting where the needs of the person living with dementia are met appropriately by staff who have the knowledge, skills and expertise in working with people with a diagnosis of dementia.
“In addition to this the staff need to develop person centred plans taking into consideration approaches and methods that have proved effective to prevent distress and which recognise the person’s usual routines and preferences.
“In this situation it would appear that this setting may not have been appropriate for his needs at this time and therefore his distress escalated to such a level that the professionals involved had to use interventions to prevent harm to himself and others.
“There is a paucity of appropriate respite settings for people living with dementia and this leads to high levels of stress for them and their families.
“If appropriate respite is not available families often have to make the decision about long term care much earlier than both parties would like leading to feelings of guilt, distress, depression and financial pressures.”