Carer receives suspended sentence after slapping care home resident

Burnley Magistrates Court.

Burnley Magistrates Court.

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An “impatient” carer who twice slapped a dementia sufferer in his nineties at a Hapton care home walked free from court.

Wendy Pound (48) had also lifted Robert Fell back into a chair at Wordsworth House Care Centre, Hapton, in a way that was described as excessive, Burnley magistrates were told.

Pound, whose “unpleasant” actions ended an unblemished 26-year career in caring, was found guilty after a recent trial. She claimed the allegation, made by some other staff members, was malicious and made-up and still protests her innocence.

The defendant, of Waterbarn Street, Burnley, was convicted on September 12th of carer ill-treating/ wilfully neglecting a person without capacity and the case had been adjourned for an all options open pre-sentence report.

She received 12 weeks in prison, suspended for a year and must pay £650 costs and an £80 victim surcharge. She had no previous convictions. Mr Fell has since died.

Bench chairman Mr Christopher Creelman told Pound: “It is a sad case that you find yourself there. You were in a position of trust and this was a vulnerable victim.

“It was an isolated incident in a previously unblemished career. We take into account the fact you are of previous good character and the pre-sentence report states you are at low risk of reoffending. We feel that at this stage we will draw back from an immediate custodial sentence.”

The court heard that Pound slapped Mr Fell’s hands twice, was being impatient and lifted him back into a chair in a way described as excessive.

Mrs Tracy Yates (prosecuting) said that the justices found no evidence of vindictiveness and that the witnesses did not have sufficient reason to lie.

Miss Fiona Clancy (defending) told the hearing that in Pound’s 26-year career in caring, she had never drawn criticism of her behaviour or tolerance before.

Pound has since resigned from the job.

In June, the Burnley Express reported that Wordsworth House was critcised in an inspection report from the Care Quality Commission, including concerns it did not adequately report allegations of abuse.

The home was classed as “inadequate” in the inspection report which highlighted a number of serious concerns.

A spokesman for the home, which is owned by Larchwood Care Homes Ltd, said it had since put in place a comprehensive action plan.