Four former care workers who told a dementia sufferer she was ‘in a brothel’ at the Peterborough care home she lived at have been found guilty of ill treating the elderly woman.
Joanne Fisher, Barbara Holcroft, Nicole Howley and Chloe Pearsall all cared for the woman in the dementia unit at the Wentworth Croft Nursing Home in Bretton Gate, Peterborough in 2013.
We will commit to the crown court because of the gravitas of the offences and the vulnerability of the victims. Our sentencing powers would be insufficientHilary Shields
They appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Monday), where they denied the charges - but magistrates found them guilty at the trial.
The court heard Howley also told another dementia sufferer she would be ‘killed at 3pm,’ the court was told.
All four have been dismissed from their job at the Bupa run care home.
Lanya Edwards, a care assistant who worked on the Hayward unit at the care home, told the court the resident had ‘quite advanced’ dementia.
She said: “She would ask where she was a lot.
“I would say she was in a care home in Peterborough, and she would be staying here until she got better. “But I heard some care assistants tell her she was living in a brothel.
“She used to get quite worried. “It is not a nice thing to hear.
“I overheard Jo (Fisher) and Barbara saying it. And also Nicole.”
Miss Edwards said she heard the defendants saying it ‘at least a couple of times a week.’
She also said she heard staff calling the second resident ‘fugly,’ although she said the name was used behind the residents’ back.
Jessica Skelly, another care assistant at the home said: “Chloe, Jo and Nicole all referred to her as a prostitute, who worked in a brothel. They said she wasn’t pulling her weight.”
“She was quite repetitive, always asking who she was, and where she was.”
Miss Skelly said she overheard it happening on a daily basis.
She said she had also heard Howley, Fisher and Pearsall call the second woman ‘fugly.’
She said: “It was used to her. She used to get distressed, and said she would phone the police.”
Miss Skelly, who has now left Wentworth Croft, also said she heard Howley say the woman would be killed at 3pm,”
All four defendants took to the witness stand, and said they had never used the language described, and had never heard anyone else use the language either.
But Victoria Brankovic, prosecuting, asked each defendant if they knew of any reason why any of the witnesses would make up the allegations - and none of the women said they could think of a reason.
Simon Millburn, defending all four women, said none of the defendants had any previous convictions recorded against them, and described their evidence as consistent and credible.
But announcing her verdict, chair magistrate Hilary Shields, said the magistrates had believed the prosecution witnesses.
She said the four women should be sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court, where a judge has greater sentencing powers.
Mrs Shields said: “We will commit to the crown court because of the gravitas of the offences and the vulnerability of the victims. Our sentencing powers would be insufficient.”
Fisher (36), of Axiom Avenue, Peterborough. Holcroft (63) of Lincoln Road, Peterborough, and Pearsall (26) of Newport Way, Peterborough, were all found guilty of one count of carer ill treat a person without capacity. Howley (25) of Sycamore Avenue, Peterborough, was convicted of two counts of the same offence.
They were all granted bail until the next hearing, which will take place on a date to be confirmed.