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Victims pelted with bean bags 'for entertainment'

Hillcroft nursing home residents were mocked, bullied and tormented by four care workers because they would have no memory of the abuse.

A general view of Hillcroft Nursing home in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancaster. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Archive

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.

Judge: Weak and inadequate management led to abuse

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.

– Judge Michael Byrne

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.

– Judge Michael Byrne

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Three of four care workers jailed for abuse

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.

Daughter 'heartbroken' by Hillcroft care home abuse

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.

Family's guilt and anger after father's care home abuse

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".

Residents at Hillcroft nursing home were mocked, bullied and tormented by four care workers. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/

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.

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Care workers to be sentenced after abusing patients

Four care workers who ill-treated elderly dementia sufferers at a nursing home in Lancashire will be sentenced today.

A general view of Hillcroft nursing home in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancaster. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Archive

Residents were bullied, mocked and tormented at Hillcroft nursing home because they would have no memory of the abuse, with one man having his foot stamped on deliberately and another tipped out of his wheelchair.

The victims were also pelted with bean bags at their heads "for entertainment", jurors at Preston Crown Court heard.

In November, Carol Ann Moore, 54, Katie Cairns, 27, and Gemma Pearson, 28, were found guilty by a jury of ill-treatment or neglect of a person who lacks capacity, under the Mental Capacity Act, after a four week trial.

Darren Smith, 35, from Lancaster, admitted eight counts of ill-treatment ahead of the trial.

140 jobs axed as Pilkington closes St Helens factory

A Pilkington glass factory in St Helens will close. Credit: PA

A factory which makes glass for the building industry is to close with the loss of 140 jobs in a "devastating blow" to the economy.

Pilkington said that, following a business review, it had decided to end manufacturing at its Cowley Hill float site in St Helens, Lancashire.

A company statement said: "The current economic downturn has impacted severely on float glass volumes, resulting in overcapacity, reduced prices and lack of profitability in the float product segment for the company in the UK.

"As a result, a decision has been taken to adjust production capacity to match profitable customer demand.

Five children arrested over suspected school arson

Five children have been arrested after a fire destroyed a school in Leyland, Lancashire that was due to reopen tomorrow after the summer holidays.

Leyland St Mary's Catholic Technology College in Royal Avenue was devastated by the blaze, which broke out shortly after 4pm yesterday.

About 10 fire engines remained at the scene in the early hours of this morning Credit: ITV Granada

Five boys between 11 and 15 were being held on suspicion of arson, Lancashire Police said.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said 125 firefighters and 20 engines were used to tackle the blaze.

The cause of the fire is being investigated and is thought to be suspicious, the service said.

Roads cleared of huge snow drifts in Lancashire

Diggers have been ploughing through deep snow drifts to clear country lanes in the Burnley area of Lancashire.

A young man was found dead in this area on Saturday after trying to walk home through the snow after a night out.

Snow covers a road leading to the small village of Wycoller near Burnley Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Snow drifts in excess of five metres deep (16ft 4in) have been reported on roads in many areas of northern England.

A farmhand makes her way through a wall of snow piled up along a road in the Briercliffe area of Burnley Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
A runner makes his way up a cleared road flanked by deep snow in Burnley Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
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