Kyle and his mother during happier times
Kyle Gibbon, one of three children, enjoyed a happy childhood near Aberdeen in spite of difficulties holding down school placements.
‘During his teenage years, he thrived at a residential school in Cumbria, routinely taking flights on his own from his home near Aberdeen. The stress caused by leaving this school was compounded by the death of his father—a tragedy that came just weeks after his favourite teacher passed away'
(see full report by journalist Ian Birrell here)
Following the trauma of these incidents, on the recommendation of his local Social Services Department, 18-year-old Kyle and his family agreed for him to attend a privately run unit in Dundee for a 6 week placement, to assess his community care needs in relation to autism, mild learning disability and ADHD. But within days of entering the unit, Kyle became unhappy and went missing in Dundee. When his mother Tracey arrived at the unit to take Kyle home, she was informed that this was not possible as Kyle had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act for compulsory assessment and treatment, and that they would call the police if she attempted to remove Kyle from the unit—even though he was crying and pleading with her to do so. Sometime afterwards, Kyle was transferred to the Royal Cornhill Psychiatric Hospital in Aberdeen, again for compulsory treatment under the Mental Health Act.
3 years after Kyle’s initial detention, and with the help of a national charity, he was being prepared for discharge back into the community. Charity workers helped him find him a flat and, in the company of support staff, Kyle enjoyed trips to the cinema and dinners with his family while they helped to furnish his prospective home. But everything changed before he could move to the flat because a young psychiatrist intervened and stopped Kyle’s discharge from the hospital.
Tracey says that Kyle has never shown any violence, yet under the brutal conditions of his imprisonment, being restrained in solitary confinement—on one occasion for 3 months—and forcibly injected with drugs, he would naturally panic at the hands of his captors and try to defend himself. On one such occasion, a doctor claimed that Kyle had assaulted her/him?, following which he was driven by two members of staff and admitted to Carstairs maximum security psychiatric hospital in South Lanarkshire, where he still remains 10 years later—alongside people serving criminal sentences for the most serious offences including murder and rape.
As Ian Birrell reports, a Freedom of Information request has revealed that Kyle is one of nine people with autism and learning disabilities being held in Carstairs.
In a story with parallels to other’s on this site (see in particular Alexis’ Story), Kyle’s mum Tracey reports that during his time at Carstairs, Kyle has been bullied, beaten, locked in solitary confinement with food put on the floor of his cell ‘like an animal’, forcibly injected with drugs, and been the victim of frequent brutal restraints; the most serious of which resulted in Kyle requiring 45 staples and two metal plates in his arm after it was twisted up behind his back and snapped in the struggle.
Kyle's injuries folllowing restraint by staff
In another violent restraint in 2016, Kyle was convicted of assaulting a member of staff, and so to add to any further difficulties of rehabilitating Kyle back into the community, he now has a criminal record to contend with through no fault of his own. Kyle is not only bullied by the staff at Carstairs but also by some of the hardened criminals he is locked up with. A notorious rapist made Kyle beg for forgiveness on his hands and knees for not passing the sugar bowl quickly enough. And so naturally, Kyle’s family have genuine fears for his life. Following her last seven-hour round-trip to visit Kyle at Christmas, Tracey reports: ‘he has bald patches on his head after starting to pull out hair in distress. He says he wants to die, so now I live in fear of that call.’
See Crowd Funding Appeal for Kyle here