Guilty, carers who abused dementia patients for fun: One resident was tipped out of his wheelchair, while another was stomped on

  • Carol Ann Moore, Katie Cairns and Gemma Pearson mocked, bullied and assaulted eight residents because they would have no memory of the abuse
  • Took place between May 2010 and September 2011 at privately-run Hillcroft home in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancashire
  • Despite complaints from staff, abuse was covered up by managers and came to light only after whistleblowers contacted the Care Quality Commission

By Nazia Parveen

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Three carers have been found guilty of abusing  vulnerable patients at a nursing home for ‘laughs’.

Carol Ann Moore, Katie Cairns and Gemma Pearson mocked, bullied and assaulted eight residents with severe dementia because they would have no memory of the abuse, which lasted 16 months.

One man was slapped on the face and tipped out of his wheelchair, Preston Crown Court heard. Another had his foot stamped on while a third was humiliated by having his nipples twisted.
Residents were also pelted with balls and beanbags.

Gemma Pearson: Tipped wheelchair
Katie Cairns: Stamped on foot
Carol Ann Moore: Slapped patient

Guilty (from left to right): Gemma Pearson, 28, Katie Cairns, 27, and Carol Ann Moore, 54, mocked, bullied and assaulted eight residents with severe dementia because they would have no memory of the abuse

The abuse took place at the privately run Hillcroft home in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancashire, between May 2010 and September 2011.

Despite complaints from staff, the abuse was covered up by managers and came to light only after whistleblowers contacted the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC informed the local authority’s adult safeguarding team but it took five months for the complaints to be passed on to police, who immediately launched an investigation. The scandal comes just a year after the jailing of 11 carers who were secretly filmed abusing vulnerable adults at the notorious Winterbourne View home in Bristol.

 

Hillcroft team leader Moore, 54, and nurses Cairns, 27, and Pearson, 28, had all denied the ill-treatment or neglect of residents.

All three had worked on the day shift on the Coniston Unit at the home, which housed ‘vulnerable and challenging’ patients. A fourth member of the team, Darren Smith, 35, of Lancaster, admitted abusing eight residents. Kathryn Johnson, prosecuting, said: ‘They mocked them, bullied them and on occasions deliberately assaulted them.’

She said bean bags were thrown so hard and fast at the residents that they were unable to catch them. Cleaner Lisa Bateman told the court she saw Moore slap resident Harry Bell across the face because ‘she wanted to get her own back’ after his wife had complained about the lack of activities in the home.

The abuse took place at the privately run Hillcroft home in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancashire, over 16 months

The abuse took place at the privately run Hillcroft home in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancashire, over 16 months

Miss Bateman and laundry assistant Sharon Ormerod also saw Pearson tip Mr Bell out of his wheelchair when he failed to stand up, causing him to stumble.

The court heard that Cairns stamped on resident Ken Heywood’s foot and singled out another victim, Harry Pullar, by pulling the loose skin on his neck. Mr Pullar also suffered bruising around his nipples as if they had been twisted and Cairns was seen to flick them, the court heard.

Moore, 53, of Lancaster, denied three counts of abusing residents under the Mental Capacity Act.

‘I’ve never abused a patient or a resident in my care and I never threw any balls at them,’ she told the court. She described herself as a ‘model carer’.

Cairns, of Morecambe, also denied three counts of abuse. She dismissed allegations she stamped on Mr Heywood and mocked Mr Pullar.

Pearson, of Carnforth, denied one count of abuse, saying it would have been impossible for her to tip Mr Bell out of his wheelchair because he weighed 25 stone. They will be sentenced on January 10.

Bosses at Lancashire County Council admitted there was a delay in reporting incidents of abuse at the care home to the police after they were alerted by the CQC.

A spokesman said the council had improved its procedures following an internal review. 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Vile nasty cowards!!!!

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This is everyone's nightmare. It's an awful decision to place your lived ones into a home, but dementia and Alzheimer's need specialist care. There is nothing 'special' or 'caring' about these witches though. Vile piece's of work. And I am equally disgusted with the management team who did NOTHING about this when other staff reported them (you can imagine these 3 are real bullies, so it took nerve for them to report it, and subsequently 'whistle-blow' on the disgusting behaviour. We need to not tar all carer's with the same brush though. Clearly there are other carer's even at this place that abhor this cruelty. My mum was in a rehab unit for months this year, in Bridgewell, a former old folk's home. We were all terrified that mum would be maltreated, had heard so many nightmare stories; but I have to say that, bar the grumpy rude manager, the care staff were FABULOUS. Totally kind and patient, even though clearly understaffed a lot if the time. Mum didn't want to come home!!!!

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I almost cried reading about this abuse, it's just disgusting that these animals could treat their patients in such a way just because they knew they wouldn't remember. Lock them up and tell other prisoners why they're in there. And let's not hear about the way they're then treated after. It can be difficult to get quality care for minimum wage, but let's not forget there are some carers who do as much as they can for their patients, despite the low wages. It would be nice to hear about them more often..

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Ugly trio, aren't they ?

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I wonder how these women feel about going into a home themselves!? Because knowing that these women did this, going into a home scares the life out of me!!!

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Evil and ugly. This is despicable. I hope this serves as a lesson to other scum.

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This was a horrible breach of trust as well as callous, spiteful behaviour towards people unable to defend themselves. Long sentences are needed and hopefully they will act as a warning to carers everywhere.

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Scum bags!! Not every carer is like that!!!

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It sounds like the cleaning staff would have done a finer job of caring for these vulnerable patients, and all credit to them for reporting what they saw. It's an utter disgrace that the acts were covered up by management at the home. It's disgusting that the trio denied what they had done and hard to fathom the cold hearted arrogance and cruelty of some people.

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These three women should be ashamed. It's stories like these that make many elderly people reluctant to go into social care. They should never work with vulnerable people again

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