Three care home workers have been convicted of ill-treating a 99-year-old dementia sufferer who suffered extensive burns after being immersed in a scalding hot bath.
Indrannee Pumbien, 59, her husband Meghadeven, 64, and care assistant Niphawan Berry, 42, failed to seek immediate treatment for Margaret Wheatley at the Briarwood Rest Home in Preston.
The elderly woman suffered extensive burns to her legs and feet, which were consistent with contact with water between 46C and 50C for up to five minutes, a court heard.
Mrs Pumbien was also found guilty of force-feeding the pensioner and another resident at the care home in Lostock Hall at Preston Crown Court today.
The jury failed to reach a verdict on an allegation of grievous bodily harm against Berry who was said to have dropped Mrs Wheatley in the bath. She was cleared of ill-treating a second resident.
The Pumbiens were found not guilty of ill-treating another resident in relation to allegedly failing to provide adequate lifting equipment.
Mrs Pumbien was also cleared of ill-treating another pensioner at the home and perverting the course of justice.
The jury failed to reach verdicts on another four counts of ill-treatment said to have been committed by Indrannee Pumbien.
Police began their investigation into the home in June last year when they were made aware of a complaint about the treatment of a resident.
Detective Sergeant Alex Gornall of Lancashire Police said: ‘These convictions are the culmination of a long and complex inquiry into the ill-treatment of residents at Briarwood Care Home.
‘The investigation revealed that these residents were victims of mistreatment at the hands of these defendants, the very people who were trusted to look after them and who were supposed to treat them with dignity at all times.
‘I would like to thank the members of staff who came forward as witnesses in this case. With their help we have been able to put a stop to any further mistreatment and their evidence has been crucial in securing these convictions.
‘We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our communities and our priority from the outset of this investigation was to ensure the safety of patients within the home. We have worked closely with the Care Quality Commission and the Adult Social Care Service at Lancashire County Council throughout.
‘We don’t believe that the behaviour of these defendants reflects the behaviour of the majority of staff who worked at Briarwood and the care home is now under completely new ownership with the levels of care provided to patients carefully monitored.
‘We have worked closely alongside the family members of the victims to support them during this difficult time. Although nothing can compensate for the ill-treatment that their loved ones have suffered, I hope that they can find some comfort from the verdicts and the fact that the defendants have now been brought to justice for their actions.’
Ben Southam, deputy head of the Complex Casework Unit at CPS North West, said: ‘Today the owners of a care home and a member of their staff have been found guilty of the shocking abuse of extremely vulnerable adults.
‘The victims were lovingly placed by their families in the care of the residential home; however these three people have abused the trust placed in them by the appalling treatment of those in their care. Their actions have caused considerable distress not only to the victims, but also to their families who have had to hear in great detail how their loved ones were ill-treated and abused in the most deplorable way.
‘All three defendants have shown no remorse throughout the case, but today they must now face up to the consequences of their actions.
‘The prosecution was made possible thanks to all the witnesses who came forward and gave evidence at the trial, which has enabled us to bring an end to the abuse and bring those responsible to justice.
‘The CPS and the police will continue to work together to tackle the abuse of vulnerable people in our society, and I would urge anyone who has suffered or witnessed abuse to report it to the authorities without delay.’
Source Mail Online