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Care home workers sentenced for mistreating residents

May 17, 2018
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Three former care home workers have been given suspended sentences after they were caught on a hidden camera mistreating residents.

Rebecca King, 32, Teresa Cutts, 50 and Joanne Hardstaff, 39, admitted charges of ill-treatment or neglect as a care worker at Brookside House Care Home in Jacksdale when they appeared at Mansfield Magistrates' Court yesterday (Wednesday 16 May).

The investigation by Nottinghamshire Police was launched after we received a complaint from the daughter of one of the residents of the care home who had placed a covert camera in her mother's bedroom after becoming concerned about her care.

The resident, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and dementia, was filmed on a number of occasions being drag-lifted into her bed, instead of using the equipment, which left her at risk of injury. She was not turned in the night despite it being in her care plan because she had bed sores. And she was not allowed to use the toilet and left in a wet incontinence pad despite asking to be changed.

The camera also captured an off camera incident via audio of another resident who was refused help despite repeatedly asking to go to the toilet - and then being verbally abused when he soiled himself.

The first offences, by King and Cutts, happened on the night shift of 12-13 April 2017.

The other offences, by King and Hardstaff, happened during the night shift of 14-15 May 2017.

King admitted three offences, Cutts admitted two offences and Hardstaff admitted one offence.

King, of Main Road, Jacksdale, was sentenced to 36 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months and was ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

Cutts, of Belvoir Way, Somercotes, was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Hardstaff, of Casson Street, Ironville, was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months and was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

The care home has now closed.

The victim’s daughter Kelly Lewis, of Somercotes, said she and her sisters Teresa Bestwick, of Somercotes, and Michele Lewis, of Ripley, had initially assumed their mum’s claims of abuse were just confusion linked to her dementia.

But after she persistently made claims about her treatment they decided to take action and see if they could corroborate what she was saying.

And they were shocked and saddened when the hidden camera revealed she had been telling the truth.

"I burst into tears because I felt guilty because we had initially not taken her word for it. Then we were really angry," said Miss Lewis.

"It’s disgusting because you trust these people.

"I’m sure they wouldn’t want their parents to be treated that way. They were in a position of trust and they were complete and utter bullies.

"It was a power trip – leaving them begging for food and to be taken to the toilet. No human should ever have to beg for basic human needs."

Miss Lewis said she hoped the convictions would mean King, Cutts and Hardstaff would not be able to work in the care profession and cause misery for any more families.

Detective Constable Victoria Greaves, of Nottinghamshire Police's Public Protection, said: "These were vulnerable victims who needed the help of care workers - people they should be able to trust. But sadly instead of being treated with the respect and dignity they deserve, they were neglected and left to suffer.

"Thanks to the vigilance of one of the victim's family members they have now faced justice. We treat abuse seriously and would encourage anyone who suspects someone is being abused to contact us on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

101 is the number to call when you need to contact Nottinghamshire Police and it’s less urgent than a 999 call. Calls cost 15p, no matter how long the call lasts.