Four care workers have been sentenced after taking part in the "gratuitous sport" of abusing elderly dementia sufferers at a nursing home.Read the full story ›
Darren Smith, Katie Cairns, Gemma Pearson and Carol Moore showed complete disregard for the well-being of the people they had been entrusted to care for.
Further to that, their ill-treatment was directed at some of the most vulnerable members of our community - these people couldn't speak out or defend themselves.
Their behaviour was utterly contemptible and I can only hope they will now reflect on their actions and see just how cowardly their conduct was.
I would once again like to take this opportunity to commend those members of staff who displayed great courage and decency in speaking out against this despicable behaviour.
The families of the elderly dementia sufferers who were abused by care workers at Hillcroft nursing home said they did not "take any pleasure" from today's outcome and added that they were still waiting for an apology from the perpetrators.
Because of their illnesses, we do not know how the victims feel about what happened to them, but we do our best to speak on their behalf.
The guilty pleas and verdicts provided final confirmation that our relatives had been the victims of abuse at Hillcroft and this saddened us greatly. The investigation and court case have been extremely distressing for us all and we do not take any pleasure in the outcome.
There are lessons to be learnt from this case and we are contributing to the ongoing Learning Review, which we hope will provide meaningful recommendations and result in changes to the law.
The statement added that they were "still waiting to receive formal apologies" from the four care workers sentenced today.
They also added that it "disappointed" them that Gemma Pearson would not serve jail time her role in the abuse at the care home.
Carol Moore - The care team leader was found guilty of one count in which she struck a resident on the unit for people with "challenging behaviour". The court heard she walked up to the victim and slapped him after a complaint was made from the man's wife about a lack of activities at the home.
Darren Smith - The 35-year-old admitted eight counts of ill-treatment in which he threw bean bags or balls at eight residents.
Katie Cairns - She was convicted of three charges including stamping on a victim's foot, throwing bean bags at another male and mocking another.
Gemma Pearson - She was convicted of attempting to tip a resident out of his wheelchair and was told that if she had succeeded, she would have been sent to jail.
Hillcroft nursing home residents were mocked, bullied and tormented by four care workers because they would have no memory of the abuse.
One man had his foot stamped on deliberately, another was nearly tipped out of his wheelchair and the vulnerable victims were pelted with bean bags and balls at their heads "for entertainment."
In November, Carol Ann Moore, 54, Katie Cairns, 27, and Gemma Pearson, 28, were found guilty by a jury at Preston Crown Court of ill-treatment or neglect of a person who lacks capacity.
Darren Smith, 35, from Lancaster, admitted ahead of the trial eight counts of ill-treatment in which he threw bean bags or balls at eight residents of Hillcroft nursing home in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancaster.
All the offences spanned from May 2010 to September 2011 and related to seven men and one woman, all aged in their 70s or 80s - the eldest was aged 85.
Four care workers took part in the "gratuitous sport" of abusing dementia sufferers which highlighted Hillcroft nursing home's "weak and inadequate management", the judge at Preston Crown Court said today.
Much evidence in the trial revealed that there was, at the relevant times, a lax regime with weak and inadequate management on the unit which allowed the kind of conduct to carry on undetected and without proper and adequate control.
He added that the offences committed were "an indictment" on Hillcroft nursing home management.
A lack of proper management allowed a culture to develop where conduct of this sort was allowed to carry on.
Some of the offences were gratuitous sport at the expense of of vulnerable victims. Each of these defendants broke the trust placed in them.
Four care workers who ill-treated elderly dementia sufferers at a nursing home in Lancashire have been sentenced to:
- Darren Smith sentenced to eight months in prison for badly treating dementia sufferers.
- Carol Ann Moore was jailed for four months.
- Katie Cairns was sentenced to five months in prison.
- Gemma Pearson was given a 12 month community order with supervision and told to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work.
3 carers sentenced to total of 17 months in jail for ill treatment of elderly residents at Hillcroft nursing home.
The daughter of one of the victims of ill-treatment at Hillcroft nursing home in Lancaster by four care workers has said she was "heartbroken" when she was informed of the abuse.
In an impact statement, ahead of their sentencing, she said: "To receive a letter and to be informed that your parent has possibly been physically abused in a place that is thought to be comfortable for them is heartbreaking."
She added that she wanted to know why the defendants had acted like they did and what they would think if their parents were treated in the same manner.
Carol Ann Moore, 54, Katie Cairns, 27, Gemma Pearson, 28, and Darren Smith, 35, will be sentenced today.
A relative of a dementia sufferer who was mistreated at a nursing home in Lancaster has spoken of his anger as four care workers are set to be sentenced today.
Michael Rowlinson said his family's decision to place his father, Norman, a retired chartered surveyor, into care was the "worst day of our lives".
Reading an impact statement in court, he said: "We had feelings of guilt for not being able to look after him.
"Our feelings of guilt only worsened when we found out that Dad had been subjected to humiliation and ill-treatment by those who were trusted to care for him.
"We feel angry this could have been allowed to happen...the experience has broken down our trust."
Mr Rowlinson added he did not believe the Care and Quality Commission had held Hillcroft to account.