Christopher Wakeman – November 28, 2011


The mother of a severely autistic man who fell to his death after leaving a secure care home in Kent has said she is “truly heartbroken”.
Christopher Wakeman, 23, died last November after falling 25ft from a road bridge above the A249 near Bobbing.
His mother, Catherine Butters, said: “I would like to see that the care home doesn’t let it happen ever again to anybody else.”
ACH, which runs the care home, said an inquiry was under way.
‘Tragic accident’?
Mr Wakeman was a resident of Byfield Court in Bobbing, which provides residential support for people with learning disabilities.
Mrs Butters said: “I’m very angry that he was able to get out by himself because I’d put my trust in the home to keep him safe.  I’m truly heartbroken, all my family are, and I don’t think we’ll ever get over losing Christopher this way.”
In a statement, ACH said: “We extend, once again, our deepest sympathies to Christopher Wakeman’s family following this tragic accident.  Unfortunately, ACH is not permitted to make any further comment at this time due to the matter being the subject of an open safeguarding inquiry.”
Catherine Butters wanted to share the following with everyone that reads her son’s story…
“My son Christopher Wakeman had very severe autism.  As he got older he hardly said any words at all. When he turned 21, he went to live in a residential setting, Byfield Court, owned by ACH Care Homes.
It was a big place that housed 10 autistic adults, 3 of them were receiving funding for one to one care at all times, Christopher being one of them. This was supposed to be a safe, secure and highly staffed care home. On the November 28, 2011 Christopher was left by himself in a lounge chair by his carer as she went upstairs to another floor to see to another resident.  She left her keys, which had both the main door entrance and exit keys on the ring, in the room when she left.
Christopher was able to let himself out of the building without being seen and walk just under a mile to a motorway flyover bridge. He was seen  walking out into the traffic, then he climbed over the railings and just let go and fell backwards. He dropped 25ft onto the road below him.
A kind lady driver stopped and sat on the road and held his hand while he slowly slipped away. He was very relaxed she told me. I am thankful that Christopher had someone with him while he died. The company of the care home never took responsibility of what happened to my treasured son and have never contacted me directly. My life has not been the same since, my heart aches and will always hurt.  I miss my beautiful son.”

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