BBC Breakfast viewers 'hearbroken and furious' at story of man sectioned for 21 years | The Sun

BBC Breakfast viewers 'hearbroken and furious' at story of man sectioned for 21 years | The Sun

October 4, 2022

BBC Breakfast viewers were left infuriated after learning the story of a man who has been held in a secure hospital for 21 years.

Over two decades ago, Tony Hickmott was sectioned after he had a mental health crisis and, despite a long fight by his family, he has not been released since.

But last year, a judge criticised his detention, telling authorities to find a home near his parents, in Brighton.

A care team for Mr Hickmott is now being assembled and he is expected in a new home in his home town, next month.

"He's coming home, I can't believe it," his mum Pam told BBC Breakfast.

"It will be a real home. We'll get him home and every day will be a bonus."


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Those watching at home were left just as moved as his mum, with dozens taking to Twitter in their droves to air their thoughts.

Alongside an array of sad-faced emojis, one person penned: "I'm equally heartbroken and furious for poor Tony. 21 years basically in prison for being autistic. Shameful."

Echoing their comments, someone else said: "Heartbreaking moment on BBC Breakfast just then. Justice for Tony!"

While a third added: "Decades lost for these people with unmet needs – horrific!"

There are around 2,000 people with learning disabilities or autism detained in specialist hospitals across England.

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A recent BBC investigation revealed 100 of them, including Mr Hickmott, have been held for longer than 20 years.

Last year, a select committee of MPs backed calls from campaigners to end the scandal of autistic people being wrongly detained, saying such hospitals should be closed by 2024.

BBC Breakfast airs weekdays from 6am on BBC One.

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