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June 20, 2003

'My deaf son could have been killed'

From: South London Press, UK - Jun 20, 2003

By Richard Evans, South London Press

A MUM is demanding answers after her son with learning disabilities was stabbed while being taken home in the care of a council.

A minicab that was supposed to take Gary Sweeby to his Streatham home mistakenly let him out early and he was left to find his own way back. The cab had been organised by Lambeth council's social services department to take Gary home to Valley Road, after he had worked at a Clapham restaurant.

Shortly after the minicab drove off, he was stabbed in the arm. He has taken tablets to calm his nerves ever since. A man has been arrested in connection with the May 20 incident.

Gary, who is also deaf, has worked at the restaurant for almost a year, but since the attack has talked of leaving.

Gary's mother Barbara, said: "I was in shock. It could have been worse - he could have died. His arm is still really bad and it has put him off working at the restaurant. But if he didn't have the job, he would not know what to do with himself. He has really been through it."

Mrs Sweeby added that a similar incident had happened before, and that Gary had cut himself on a beer bottle that time.

A spokeswoman for Lambeth council said: "As soon as we heard what had happened, we immediately contacted the minicab company. The company has dismissed the worker involved."

She added: "We are determined to ensure that we get an excellent standard of service from all the minicab companies we use and are closely monitoring all the contracts.

"We are in contact with Mr Sweeby and his family and are doing what we can to support them."

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Plc 2003