A FATHER whose autistic, mute daughter was kept in a secure unit for six months following false abuse allegations says the horror of the ordeal is impossible to put into words.

Carers claimed Carina Burn confided in them about being raped and abused, despite the fact she is unable to talk and can only communicate with her mother.

On October 15 2010, social workers removed Miss Burn, then 19, from her home in Carmarthenshire in Wales, and two weeks later her parents, Robin and Julia Burn, were arrested. Mr Burn, originally from Wolsingham, County Durham, pointed out the carers had used a discredited communication method, but it took six months for police and social services to concede the allegations were unfounded.

Miss Burn, who is unable to look after herself, had never been away from her parents when she was taken to the secure unit. Her heartbroken family heard how she paced up and down in her room and cried frequently during the six months she was away.

Mr Burn, a 75-year-old former councillor, said his daughter, now 26, did not know some of the words the carers claimed she had used. He hopes by finally speaking out he can ensure those responsible are disciplined.

“It’s impossible to put into words the impact this has had on us as a family,” he said. “The anguish and despair we felt was overwhelming. What else can I say? It was awful and I honestly believe if we hadn’t got Carina back Julia would have died of a broken heart.”

Miss Burn has since received £30,000 compensation from police, Carmarthenshire County Council (CCC) and the psychiatrist employed to assess her.

A report by Professor Patricia Howlin, a child psychology expert, concluded Miss Burn had “no effective means of independent communication,” and said third party interpretations of the assisted alphabet board system could be misleading. This system, known as facilitated communication, involves the communicator guiding their carer’s hand to letters to form words.

In an admission letter in 2014, CCC apologised and admitted it had failed to properly assess Miss Burn’s ability to communicate, and concluded she was “unlawfully deprived of her liberty.”

But an investigation by Dyfed Powys Police Force and CCC as to whether the carers deliberately manipulated Miss Burn was dropped due to a lack of evidence and Professor Howlin’s belief the carers had Miss Burn’s “best interests at heart.”

Mr Burn disagrees and has written to the police and Social Care Wales, demanding the case be reopened.

Avril Bracey, CCC’s head of mental health and learning, said: “An investigation was undertaken in 2010/11 by the council working with Dyfed Powys Police in response to allegations against Mr and Mrs Burn. This was a complex matter for all parties involved. Following an Ombudsman’s investigation, the council acknowledged that there were shortfalls and lessons were learned. The council remains willing to work with the family.”