Five hour train terror for vulnerable Finsbury Park man
PUBLISHED: 10:35 18 June 2015
A vulnerable young man is “traumatised” after he was left on a train for five hours, during rush hour, by staff from his day care centre, after an off site trip.
The group had been returning from a visit to Kew Gardens but Sanchez Benoit, 25 - who has a mental age of seven years old and severe learning difficulties - had to endure the epic District Line journey back and forth from Richmond to Upminster until police found him.
His mother, Josephine Benoit, of Amwell Court, in Finsbury Park, said she no longer “trusts” the centre, CORE Projects, to look after her son.
She said: “It was terrible. I was devastated when the woman who escorts him to and from the centre told me he wasn’t there. Sorry isn’t going to rectify what they have done; somebody did not do their job right.
“Sanchez was traumatised as he cannot travel alone; he has severe learning difficulties due to a brain tumour he had when he was younger. He suffers with hay-fever and his eyes were swollen red. He was too frightened to ask for help, there was no toilet and he was sacred to come off the train.”
British transport Police said: “We were called shortly before 4pm on Monday, 8 June, following a report of a vulnerable 25-year-old man who had gone missing from Aldgate East station on the District line.
“Officers alerted rail staff and searched trains, stations and surrounding areas along the District line. CCTV footage was also viewed and Oyster Card data was analysed in order to locate the man.
“He was found at Upminster station shortly after 9pm, and taken to Romford Police station by colleagues from Metropolitan Police Service before being reunited with his family.”
Mrs Benoit said Sanchez is recovering from his ordeal but she will not be sending him to CORE Projects again.
The centre, based in Thrawl Street, provides vocational training to people with learning difficulties and disabilities.
A CORE Projects spokesman issued an apology to the family.
He said commuters had blocked Sanchez’s exit from the train and the doors closed before staff could safely escort him off.
He added police and station staff were called immediately when it was discovered Sanchez had not alighted at the next station.
He said: “CORE staff co-ordinated efforts to find Sanchez with the police, station staff and his carer and support agency and, with information from the family about a similar incident that happened a few years back, we believed he would remain on the train until found.
“We have carried out an urgent review of our risk assessments and policies, especially regarding activities off site, to make sure that this does not happen again.
“We have made efforts to contact Josephine to talk through what happened and to update her on what we have done since last Monday but she has not yet responded to us.”