PARENTS of a severely disabled teenager spoke of their distress after finding out that their son had been “abused” and left in his room without food or water by staff at a residential care home.

Christine and Malcolm Mahony complained to the Care Inspectorate about the way Lewis, 19, who has autism, severe learning disability, epilepsy and has difficulty speaking, was being treated at Camphill Blair Drummond, near Stirling.

Care watchdogs upheld the couple’s complaints after an investigation and made a series of recommendations to prevent others from being mistreated in the future.

The couple, from Linlithgow, West Lothian, said they hoped that no other family ever have to go through the same nightmare and called for a major change in culture at the care home.

Lewis is now living back home with his parents but they described his condition as “very poor”.

Former maths teacher Christine said: “I found him in his room in dirty pyjamas, hungry and thirsty, and when I tried to encourage him to get dressed, he went white with fear and resisted desperately.

“The staff had given him nothing to eat or drink that day. Although it was after 1pm, the house leader continued to refuse to give Lewis anything to eat in his bedroom, saying he was just being a stroppy teenager. That was jaw-dropping. It was horrendous.

“The worst aspect is Lewis’s condition now, he is in a constant state of anxiety.

“We hope we can bring him back over time and get him out again doing the things he loved to do. We are taking advice from psychiatrists and learning disability nursing services locally.

“We don’t think the house leader and managers running and overseeing this abusive regime are fit to look after individuals as vulnerable as Lewis. The culture needs to change to meet an individual’s needs.”

Lewis moved into the home in July 2015 after a year-long transition and his parents thought being with other teenagers would only enhance his life and love for the outdoors.

Within months his behaviour began to deteriorate but he was unable to communicate what was going on to his parents.

Christine explained: “The way our son was treated was absolutely shocking. He is living back at home with us at the moment. He is in a very poor condition. He is wearing pyjamas all day and he hasn’t been outside for months. He is very anxious. It is very distressing because he had a wonderful quality of life in the past.

“He used to love hillwalking, cycling, gardening and family holidays. He had a great life before he went into Camphill Blair Drummond full-time. It seems to have all gone.

“We removed him from there on the day we saw him being abused with not being given food and drink, at the end of February 2016. We found out this had been going on for months.

“It was very, very upsetting. We are devastated. We had to read his behaviour to find signs that things were going wrong.

“Because it seemed to be a lovely community with lots of activities for him when we put him there we thought there would be lots of people watching out for him and highlighting any signs of abuse. We were devastated to find out that didn’t happen and he was subject to abuse of the most horrible kind.”

Civil servant Malcolm said the abuse was “deliberate” because they had made arrangements for Lewis to have food in his room as he found communal dining too stressful.

He said that when his son did not go to the dining room they left him in his room without food or water which he says breaches national care standards.

Sandra Sabiston, assistant director at Camphill Blair Drummond, insisted this was an “isolated incident”.

She said: “The welfare of the people we support is of the highest priority at Camphill Blair Drummond. We take all complaints very seriously and address all concerns at the earliest opportunity in order to resolve matters quickly and effectively. “This was an isolated incident which does not reflect the high quality standard of the support we provide as evidenced by our latest Care Inspectorate Report, which shows grades of “Excellent” across all quality themes.”