A MENTAL hospital in Pilning has been slammed after allowing a killer to escape and rape a 14-year-old girl.

The Hayes Hospital has been given nine months to improve its security, staff training and patient vetting policy after receiving a damning report.

It comes after patient Darren Harkin, 21, was allowed to abscond earlier this year and went on to rape a teenage girl in South Wales.

The hospital, which is run by the National Autistic Society (NAS), has been given a whole list of sweeping changes it must make by an Independent External Review Team.

However, there have been no calls for anyone to be sacked over the incident.

Harkin, who suffers from autism and schizophrenia, gave staff the slip on February 2. He had been at the low-security hospital for a little over a year but had been detained by mental health services since 2000, when he had stabbed his six-month-old stepbrother to death.

In September Harkin was sent to Broadmoor indefinitely after admitting escaping from lawful custody, burglary and two counts of rape.

Mark Lever, NAS chief executive, said: "The message I want to get out is that this was a horrendously tragic incident and it is now my job to make sure it just doesn’t happen again.

"The reason we commissioned this report was to make sure we had an objective external review.

"We want to be completely open about what is in the report and we want people to know we accept all of the recommendations.

"We have already met with the head of security for the health service and the ministry for justice to discuss the security measures at the hospital and there are plans in place to replace the fence.

"There are also plans to replace the entrance and the exit of the hospital. We have also identified three patients we felt needed to attend more secure premises.

"We want to make sure people living near the hospital feel safe and secure."

Independent External Review Team’s Recommendations for The Hayes Hospital: Remove patients admitted from high security Psychiatric Personality Disorder services.

Stop all referrals from High Security and Prison Services.

Appoint senior management consultant to lead changes.

Appoint Interim services manager with expertise in Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Aspergers Syndrome.

Clinical audits on all in-patients, all previous AWOL incidents and all near-miss incidents.

Appoint member of staff with responsibility for monitoring national and regional guidelines.

Agree an external monitor, possible Bristol PCT.

All clinical staff to be sent on accredited risk appraisal and management programmes.

Senior management to be sent on training on NHS management programmes.

NAS to identify new partner organisation for the Hayes.

Build new security fence.