Care workers jailed for mistreating dementia sufferers

Three care workers who bullied and tormented elderly dementia sufferers at a Lancashire nursing home have been jailed for a total of 17 months. The judge blamed "a lack of proper management" for the culture of abuse at Hillcroft nursing home.

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Police: Care workers showed 'disregard' for victims

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.

– Detective Chief Inspector Andy Hulme, of Lancashire Constabulary


Families 'take no pleasure' from care case outcome

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.

– Joint statement from families of Hillcroft nursing home victims

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.

Read: What the four care workers were sentenced for

What the four care workers were sentenced for

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.

Carol Moore, 54. Credit: Lancashire Police

Darren Smith - The 35-year-old admitted eight counts of ill-treatment in which he threw bean bags or balls at eight residents.

Darren Smith, 35. Credit: Lancashire Police

Katie Cairns - She was convicted of three charges including stamping on a victim's foot, throwing bean bags at another male and mocking another.

Katie Cairns, 27. Credit: Lancashire Police

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.

Gemma Pearson, 28. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Archive

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


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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