Were GlaxoSmithKline Testing Experimental Drugs on Vulnerable Girls? Kendall House: Part 2

Dr. Perinpanayagam’s house of horror and his Igor-like assistant Fiona Strike

There was once an out of control psychiatric doctor and consultant working for the NHS. A man who had access to thousands of vulnerable people of all ages and would abuse his privileged position to commit horrible acts of malfeasance. A man who I can only describe as truly evil but most of you will never have heard his name. I’ve been on this case for a few years and it’s time to put pen to paper and tell you about some of what I’ve discovered so far.

It was the incredible strength and passion of a survivor named Teresa Cooper that had me completely intrigued with this case. She is one of the most courageous people I have ever had the pleasure of communicating with. This investigation would never have happened without the tireless work of Teresa and other survivors of Kendall House.

Each of the young girls who resided at Kendall House would have to be evaluated by the home’s official Head of Psychiatry, Mahenthiran Selvaraj Perinpanayagam, who was born in Ceylon, Sri Lanka, and had studied medicine until graduating in 1953. Sri Lanka was not like other areas of Southeast Asia. As within India, Sri Lanka practiced a hierarchical social caste system which often separated out specific social groups who would then not interact with other areas of their formal society. Dr. Perinpanayagam had come from a social class in Sri Lanka that had been heavily influenced by the previous British colonial rulers. The British had staffed the Ceylon Civil Service with Sri Lankans who would find themselves lifted from the restraints of their specific caste group by being given jobs within the civil services, in education, medical, and legal professions. The Perinpanayagam family had benefited from the British colonial rule. Mahenthiran’s father had run an exclusive private school in Sri Lanka while his brother had also graduated from medical school. The two siblings were soon to travel halfway around the world to settle in the U.K.

His complicated exotic name would be set aside and he would usually be referred to as “Dr. Perin” when he began to practice medicine in Britain. In the mid 1950’s, he would officially move to England with his wife, Pushpam, and daughter Jasmine. The British National Health Service was less than a decade old and recruited medical professionals from all round the globe. It would not take Dr Perinpanayagam a very long time to find a job in the NHS that would allow him to train towards becoming a doctor and consultant. He would undertake his training in various hospitals located in the north of England until settling down during the 1960’s in a York clinic where he was described as having “formidable energy” and “infectious enthusiasm”. Dr. Perinpanayagam would learn to practice short term treatments and rehabilitation of those afflicted by mental illness. But as soon as he had made it to the top of his own practice, this ethos would fall by the wayside and be replaced by more archaic methods of supposed rehabilitation. Perinpanayagam’s focus on short term treatment would become of secondary concern to his desire to make a name for himself in British medical history.

It would be in the mid 1950’s when Perinpanayagam would first see his name appear in print in the British Medical Journal on 8 October 1955 and 20 April 1957. Perinpanayagam had been one of the team of doctors who reported the successful treatment of barbiturate poisoning in a 15 month old child by using a compound called Bemegride. Initially named Bemegridium, it was a compound that had been developed in the Soviet Union and afterwards would be produced in the United Kingdom by a company called Aspro Nicolas Pharmaceuticals. Perinpanayagam’s success was addictive for the enthusiastic Sri Lankan, who was desperate for any potential accolades.

Dr. Perinpanayagam would be featured in some further scientific papers, one in 1960 and two in 1965. It would be in 1967 when the Sri Lankan born doctor would begin his time at NHS’s Stone House and Westhill Psychiatric Hospital. It is here that he gets his first taste of power and control over the lives of many vulnerable people. It would be an understatement to say that the late 60’s and early 70’s was not a good era for mental health support. Anybody with a mental health issue would usually be institutionalised as early as possible and would find themselves being used as test subjects for an ever evolving field of medicine. Psychiatrists were still able to use various forms of controversial treatments, such as electroshock therapies, which nowadays would be considered forms of serious torture rather than treatments with any medicinal benefit. injections, referred to as depot tranquillisers, were used to daze, sedate and hypnotise anyone exhibiting behaviours deemed unacceptable or antisocial. Dr. Perinpanayagam would set up complicated medical regimes for each patient. The level of drugging that his patients/victims would endure were off any usual scale.

When he became the Head of Psychiatry at Stone House, Kendall House Care Home for disturbed adolescent girls became Perinpanayagam’s responsibility. He would use Kendall House in a different way to Stone House. Stone House was a big asylum covered by the restrictions of any NHS hospital, whereas Kendall House was officially run by the Church of England. Thanks to the many survivors of the horrors at Kendall House, we have a lot of documented evidence showing us a detailed picture of the day to day running of the small Gravesend care home. The available information is both troubling and disturbing. Dr. Perinpanayagam would use the troubled adolescent girls living in Kendall House as guinea pigs for his experiments.

Admission of Experimentation on Vulnerable Girls in the BMJ

He even advertised his experiments on disturbed adolescent girls in the British Medical Journal in a correspondence published on 26 March 1977 entitled, “Use of depot tranquillisers in disturbed adolescent girls.” Dr. Perinpanayagam would write:

Sir,-We have been treating girls in a secure home for disturbed adolescents with the intramuscular depot preparations fluphenazine decanoate and flupenthixol decanoate. Most of the girls admitted to this home have already been in care, all come from broken or severely disruptive homes, and all the girls have been uncontrollable in their previous situations. Many have been in conflict with the law. The environment of the home is extremely caring but with firmly defined limits of what is acceptable and what is not.”

The reality for the vulnerable young women who were being held hostage in Kendall House was far removed from the description Perinpanayagam gives in the BMJ. In actuality the girls were subjected to nearly all forms of abuse. They were often jabbed with these depot tranquillisers and were left slumped over each other in a piss stained rec room. Almost all of their everyday needs were neglected, the physical abuse was daily, if not hourly. The girls were beaten, raped, emotionally abused, given forced abortions and their backgrounds were never as simple as Dr Perinpanayagam would state in his piece in the British Medical Journal. Many of the girls were often from dysfunctional families and should have been considered young tearaways with behavioural issues. Perinpanayagam piece would continue:

“The effect of maternal deprivation on many of these children is clearly observable and understood by our staff, and as far as possible the staff try to compensate for this. Oral medication is used with some of these girls, but tablet-taking default often occurs.

Over the past year, 10 of these girls who were extremely disturbed, violent, and aggressive and who were not influenced by tender, loving care or by psychological strategies were started on depot tranquillisers. Five girls were treated with fluphenazine decanoate, the dose range being from 12.5 to 25 mg at weekly to monthly intervals, while five girls were treated with flupenthixol decanoate, the dose range being from 20 to 40 mg at weekly to monthly intervals. The ages of the girls ranged from 12 to 16 years.”

Dr Perinpanayagam was using a sample of only 10 girls to test the effects of the collection of high grade pharmaceutical hypnotics. The tiny sample group would then be split in half for the two studies. A sample group of five is obviously too small to obtain any meaningful scientific conclusions from such a trial, but Perinpanayagam seemed to believe that this wasn’t relevant. His complete disregard for the girls safety appeared to be related to his belief that girls who he described as “extremely disturbed, violent, and aggressive” and who “were not influenced by tender, loving care or by psychological strategies” were fair game for his useless experimentations. The girls were described as aged between 12 to 16 years old, a massively important time in the development of a female’s body and brain, but Perinpanayagam saw these girls as expendable, almost as though he was still living within the Sri Lankan caste system. Because these girls were disturbed and from the lower echelons of society, Perinpanayagam believed it was acceptable for him to use them as animal-like test subjects. The correspondence in the BMJ continues with Perinpanayagam stating:

“Two of these girls were suffering from a schizophrenic illness (one of these suffered from grand mal epilepsy) and one other girl, who was homicidal at the age of 9 years, suffered from temporal lobe abnormalities. Concomitant intramuscular and oral anti-Parksonian drugs were also given to these 10 girls. The girls on this regimen benefited, their disturbed behaviour subsided, they became approachable in a psychotherapeutic framework, and were alert, cooperative, and psychologically more stable. Five of them have remained on the treatment for nine months to one year and others for shorter periods of time. Three girls have improved sufficiently to stop the treatment altogether. The ultimate aim in all cases is to try and stop the treatment and help them adjust to life. It was recognised that in these girls acting-out aggression and emotional outbursts were an important part of maturation and these episodes were used therapeutically as far as possible.”

On top of the tiny sample sizes, there were also many differences in each of the girls’ conditions. Perinpanayagam seemed to think that this was normal when carrying out a supposed scientific study. The admission that these girls were also given anti-Parksonian drugs will be something that we return to but first the end of Perinpanayagam’s correspondence:

“The following blood tests were performed on the 10 girls, initially weekly, then fortnightly, and then at monthly intervals: urine testing, hemoglobin levels, white blood count, erythrocytes sedimentation rate, blood urea concentration, and liver function tests. The only abnormalities detected in four cases was a raised serum alkaline phosphatase level (up to 30 U, the normal range being 4-15 U);this is being further investigated but is probably caused by active growth of bone. Plasma bilirubin, blood urea, and other blood and urine tests were consistently normal. In three of the girls there was a raised aspartate aminotransferase (SGOT) level, which was explained by the pathologist as due to muscle tissue breakdown.

We would be interested to hear any other doctors’ experience in this field.

M.S. Perinpanayagam

Robin A Haig

Stone House Hospital,

Nr. Dartford Kent”

This was an extraordinary insight into Dr Perinpanayagam’s management of Kendall House and his complete disregard for the health of his young and vulnerable patients. In the same edition of the British Medical Journal, placed just before Dr Perinpanayagam’s correspondence, was another piece of relevant information from a doctor in Gwynedd’s Bryn y Neuadd Hospital entitled Toxic Effects of Depot Tranquillisers in Mental Handicap:

“Sir,-Through your columns may I ask any doctors with experience of severe toxic reactions with the above to communicate with me?

Following reports of fatal hyperthermia with mentally handicapped inpatients on fluphenazine enanthate during an Australian heatwave the two UK drug companies marketing fluphenazine decanoate (Modecate) and flupenthixol decanoate (Depixol) advise doctors not to use these with the mentally handicapped. A check of original reports shows that most fatalities occurred among those also on anti-Parksonian agents, which decrease sweating, apart from other drugs such as for epilepsy. Under the auspices of the Royal College of Psychiatrists a small working party of consultants in mental handicap met on 15 February to review UK experience. From a background of up to seven years’ practice among 4910 UK inpatients and 213 currently in depot medication no fatalities and only five severe toxic reactions were reported, each responding rapidly to anti-Parksonian drugs. The doses used were in general up to 100 mg of fluphenazine decanoate and 400 mg of flupenthixol decanoate monthly.

The rationale of not using depot preparations among the mentally handicapped was that it was believed that some brain damaged patients were particularly sensitive to phenothiazines and there is evidence that this may well be so. The working party believed that, used with caution, depot preparations were both effective and valuable, but before attempting to set the record straight we would be grateful to hear from other doctors in community and hospital practice who work with child and adult mentally handicapped patients.

M.J. Craft

Bryn y Neuadd Hospital,

Llanfairfechan, Gwynedd”

Although this correspondence expressly refers to the mentally handicapped, here seemed to be growing evidence at the time that the depot tranquillisers were not as safe as first realised. The brand name mentioned in the latter correspondence, Depixol, which was actually registered to a Danish pharmaceutical firm called H. Lundbeck A/S, was a regularly used depot tranquilliser in Kendall House. Depixol, as Perinpanayagam points out in his BMJ correspondence, was nearly always used alongside anti-Parksonian drugs, which in Kendall House were Kemedrin, Disipal, and Artane.

If you were to study the medication regimen of a single occupant of Kendall House then you would be amazed by the range of drugs that they were given. Teresa Cooper herself would be subjected to a slew of powerful drugs including Depixol, Droleptan, Sparine, Largactil, Valium, Dalmane, Phenergan, Disipal, and Kemadrin. But these were only the registered medications and the girls who were stuck in the hellhole known as Kendall House were given more than just what has been noted.

The Kendall House reports confirmed the use of other drugs that appear to have been experimental drugs which have never been officially registered. One such drug which was being used was referred to as Mutheaternis. There is no drug ever recorded, trademarked, or registered with such a name, except within Kendall House. There was also a suggestion during the inquiries into Kendall House that Dr Perinpanayagam had also been using Bemegride to revive the girls from their hypnotic state as and when required. You see, it was very awkward when someone’s parent comes to see their child only to find them heavily medicated and in a totally vulnerable state.

Bemegride was the chemical compound that had seen Perinpanayagam’s name featured in his first medical journal back in the mid 1950’s. It was a stimulant that at one time was on a list of potential recreational drugs which could come into popular use. But shortly after Perinpanayagam’s 1955 paper on Bemegride’s successful use in a patient recovering from barbiturate poisoning, in 1961, a paper titled Therapeutic Trends in the Treatment of Barbiturate Poisoning, Bemegride use had become unpopular. The Scandinavian Method by C Clemmesen and R Nilsson became known as the study that should have ended use of such drugs as Bemegride and Picrotoxin. By the time of this 1977 BMJ correspondence, Bemegride was very rarely used in the wider NHS.

What’s even more interesting is Bemegride seems to never have been properly registered in the UK. I was able to find the registration and trademark of every official chemical compound dispensed in Kendall House, but Bemegride only has its trademark registered. When Perinpanayagam first used Bemegride it was made by a company called Aspro-Nicholas and in 1971 they had become Nicholas Int.

Behind Perinpanayagam

So who would be testing unknown drugs such as Mutheaternis on these vulnerable girls? The rumours have it that clues may still be out the back of present day Kendall House, where empty medication vials were reported to have been buried. But what we do know is that the main person responsible for administering the medication had very close links to GlaxoSmithKline and is an extremely interesting person to research.

Fiona Strike had a reputation of pure evil given to her by the girls who she was administering the excessive medications to. She was in charge of giving the girls experimental medication and keeping the notes for whoever was behind collecting this data. Fiona Strike was given immunity from all the inquiries and her name was kept from circulation in the press. After she was at Kendall House she became a magistrate and eventually Mayoress of Gravesham. This woman is the only person who could tell the world what was being given to those girls, and on whose behalf. So why would the review protect Fiona Strike? Was it to cover up her matrimonial links to GlaxoSmithKline? Fiona Strike’s husband, Jeremy Strike, was at this time working for international pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

Because of her very central role in Kendall House, Fiona Strike’s affiliations and intentions, as well as any other existing records, should have been forensically examined by police investigators. But due to the Church of England’s interference and manipulation of the events, nobody has been held to account for their barbaric abuse of vulnerable young children. Part of the reason for this may be explained by some of Perinpanayagam’s connections with the UK Home Office. Although it is unclear how he was affiliated with the British government, Dr Perinpanayagam’s official headed letter paper stated proudly that he was also a senior advisor to the British Home Office.

The Guilty Trinity

The NHS, the Home Office, and the Church of England, were all responsible for the crimes committed against the young vulnerable females at Kendall House, but it is only the Church that was targeted by the resulting reports. The survivors were all given compensation that came with a built in clause preventing these victims from seeking any further justice. Because of this manipulated attempt of faux closure, the NHS and the Home Office remain distanced from the Kendall House scandal. No investigation ever happened into Perinpanayagam’s behaviour during his time in charge of NHS run Stone House. The question must be asked: is this to protect large pharmaceutical companies who were experimenting on the care homes residents? GlaxoSmithKline have always had a foothold in and around Kent, could it just be a coincidence that the Nurse Ratchet of Kendall House, Fiona Strike, was linked to the company by marriage?

This investigation will not end here. In studying Kendall House, you can follow many different branches of evidence which will lead you further into the dark corners of the wider establishment. There are other links that lead you straight to the U.K. government of the day which also need further study. Kendall House is part of a web and the people involved in the cover-up do not want you following the evidence.

The people responsible for the Kendall House inquiry were, in most part, also responsible for the inquiries into the crimes of Jimmy Savile. The small group who has kept complete control of the narrative in these cases are constantly working to cover up any emerging information. Let’s fight them, expose them, and hold them to account.

For further articles relating to Kendall House written by Johnny Vedmore please read:

‘Men Who Are Attracted to 13-Year-Old Boys Make the Best Teachers’ – Director of Kent Social Services ’74-’85

and A First Day at Kendall House—Taken from Resident Testimony—Kendall House Part 1

Also see Teresa Cooper’s website No 2 Abuse which is an extensive resource for any Kendall House researcher.