Holby City star horrified to find disabled brother living in squalor as wife had affair

A Holby City star was horrified to find her disabled brother living in squalor after his wife had an affair with his carer.

Tom Somerset-How, who has cerebral palsy, weighed less than seven stone when he was rescued from his ordeal by family members, including Holby City and Silent Witness actress Kate Somerset-Holmes.

It came after his wife Sarah Somerset-How and his carer George Webb had an affair and neglected to look after him properly.

The pair were said to have left Tom in his bed for days at a time and did not provide him with adequate food and water.

They were also reportedly using Tom’s carer’s allowance and savings to pay for their own lifestyles.

The 40 year old was “disorientated” and “very, very thin” when he was rescued by police, social services and his family after his sister tried to gain entry to his house several times, but was unable to see her brother, the court heard.

The actress said she knocked at the home in Chichester, West Sussex in 2018, twice a day for five days, but the door was never answered and the curtains would be shut “all day”.

She says the door was only only answered after she parked her car down the road and walked to the door, after which Tom’s wife Sarah answered.

The actress told jurors: "I repeatedly knocked on the door, but it went unanswered. I tried to see into the house, but the curtains were closed. I knocked every day. On the last day I was visiting my mum, I decided I would ambush them, because I felt I was being ignored, and I was concerned.

“Sarah answered and opened the door a crack. I could smell cigarettes and marijuana, and I was annoyed they were smoking because I don't think it was good for Tom."

She told Portsmouth Crown Court: "I parked down the road and knocked on the door. George opened it, and this was the first time I had ever seen him. I explained I was going away for a while and had a Christmas present for Tom. He was reluctant. I tried to be persuasive and polite, and he let me in – I was very surprised.

"I knew that no one in my family had seen Tom in two years. My first impression of the house was that it was squalid. It smelt very strongly of cigarettes and marijuana. The house was dim, and the curtains were closed. I assumed correctly that Tom would be in bed, so I made my way there – George went to the lounge straight away to make a call.

"The bedroom was disgusting. Tom was in bed and was incredibly confused and disoriented. He wasn't wearing his glasses. There were clothes and boxes everywhere. There were piles of clothes on Sarah's side of the bed, and his wheelchair was folded up with things on top of it. Tom smelt terrible, like he hadn't been washed in weeks. I asked him if he had an accident in bed because it smelt of urine, but he didn't know.

She added: "Tom was very, very thin. His nails were long, and his hair was greasy. He hadn't been shaved in weeks. I asked if he was okay, but he obviously wasn't. In hindsight, that was a silly question. It was disgusting. I told him Simon – my husband – was outside and said we could leave, we could go right now. But he kept repeating, 'I'm fine, I'm fine'."

In 2020 Tom managed to raise the alarm about how he was being treated with a friend, who then alerted his parents. They then staged a rescue with police and social services.

Sarah Somerset-How was convicted of modern slavery and three separate charges of aiding and abetting ill-treatment by a care worker. George Webb was convicted of modern slavery, three separate charges of aiding and abetting ill-treatment by a care worker and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

They were both sentenced to eleven years imprisonment at Portsmouth Crown Court on July 14 2023.

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