Two women charged with neglecting or mistreating elderly people in their care following ‘dementia doll’ abuse allegations at a Middleton nursing home are due to stand trial.
Shauna Higgin and Victoria Johnson appeared before magistrates for the first time after being detained and quizzed by police earlier this year.
Both were charged last month and bailed to appear before Bury and Bury and Rochdale Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
Higgin, 19, and Johnson, 23, face identical charges - four counts of a care worker ill-treating or wilfully neglecting an individual.
Each count relates to a resident living at Ashbourne House, on Rochdale Road in Middleton, during their time there as care workers.
Alan Bakker, prosecuting, told the court the charges relate to alleged incidents between December 1 and 26 last year.
Police were alerted to a number of images taken by staff at Ashbourne House in January.
It was alleged that vulnerable residents had been tormented by abuse of ‘therapy’ dolls used by those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Officers began investigating after the images were reported on January 22.
The pair appeared in the dock together and spoke only to confirm their names, ages and addresses - and to indicate a plea.
Ms Johnson, of Cowlishaw Lane, Oldham, did not enter a plea to the charges.
Ms Higgin, of Eliot Walk, Middleton, pleaded not guilty.
Due to the ‘complexity’ of the case, magistrates referred the matter to the crown court after declining jurisdiction.
Crown Prosecution Service solicitor Mr Bakker said:
Ms Higgin and Ms Johnson were bailed to appear at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court on July 29 for a pre-trial preparation hearing.
They were ordered by magistrates not to contact each other, prosecution witnesses or anyone concerned with Ashbourne House as part of their bail conditions.
Ms Higgin and Ms Johnson were also told not to visit the nursing home.