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Care provision concern

3rd November 2005

Suitable support may not be available for those trying to care for people who have Down's Syndrome, the Down's Syndrome Association fears.

The call comes after Mrs Wendolyn Markcrow, a woman who suffocated her Down's Syndrome son Patrick after caring for him for 36 years and then tried to commit suicide, was given a suspended sentence in Oxford Crown Court.

The defence in the case said that despite being offered occasional respite care, Mrs Markcrow had not been allowed a care manager and had written to social services asking for help.

The judge in her case when ruling told Mrs Markcrow that the 'pressures you faced were extreme'.

Talking to BBC Radio Four's 'Today' Marie Benton, from the Down's Syndrome Association, said people with Down's Syndrome are very resistant to change or can be, and that's exactly the same for people with autism.

She explained that because Patrick had both these conditions it may have meant he found it difficult to be out of the family environment when attending respite care.

Ms Benton added that social services could have offered some form of respite care in the home, as opposed to visiting a respite facility.

"It could be that they service they provided was completely unsuitable for him," she said.