Carer '˜snapped' and punched dementia patient
A carer who attacked a partially-paralysed, elderly dementia patient after losing his temper, walked free from court.
Saqab Saleem (34) had “snapped” and repeatedly punched a vulnerable resident, after the victim had lashed out and thrown his blanket on the floor at the White Ash Brook Care Home, Oswaldtistle.
Burnley magistrates heard how the resident, in his 80s, swore a lot as a result of his illness, and had been shouting at the defendant before Saleem hit him in front of a shocked colleague while on duty in the early hours.
The hearing was told the defendant had had an unblemished 15-year career in caring, but had anger control problems after frontal lobe surgery to remove a brain tumour in 2013 and had not had his medication at the time.
Father-of-two Saleem, who has lost his job and is now a takeaway delivery driver, had denied assault by beating, committed between last November 29th and December 2nd but later changed his plea to guilty.
The defendant, of Maurice Street, Nelson, was given a 12-month community order, with 50 hours unpaid work and a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
He was ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge and £200 costs.
Prosecutor Dominic Howell told the court the victim had been unable to make a statement and the evidence came from a carer at the home, who said she had worked with Saleem in the past, got on well with him and there had been no particular problems.
Mr Howell said the victim suffered with dementia, didn’t talk very well and often swore as a result of his illness.
He was paralysed on one side due to a stroke. He lashed out quite frequently with his working arm, was not very demanding and apologised when he did swear.
The prosecutor said, at 1-30am, the two carers went to carry out a routine check on the victim.
The witness described the victim as having wet the bed. He was agitated, lashing out and swearing.
Mr Howell continued: “They continued to care for him and Ronnie was lashing out and threw his blanket on the floor. Saleem picked up the blanket and tried to put it back on the bed.
“The patient tried to put it back on the floor. Saleem was stood near his head. She saw the defendant punch him to his good arm on more than one occasion.”
David Leach (defending) told the court Saleem couldn’t explain what he had done.
He said: “He has had difficulty, at times, controlling his temper and that is very much a symptom of any kind of surgical intervention on the frontal lobe.
“His medication was being changed. He didn’t have his medication. He just went without it. I think on reflection he perhaps should have taken time off work. He shouldn’t have been in this particular environment.
“He is genuinely and deeply remorseful. He accepts it was terrible and it was a vulnerable victim. He accepts he has had difficulties in controlling his temper, he gets tired and he suffers fatigue, but he manages to work.”
Sentencing, bench chairman John James told the defendant: “It’s very sad to see you here before us, because you are a youngish man who has committed 15 years of his life to the caring profession and we all agree it’s not an easy job to do.
“People are grateful and indebted to professionals like yourself who dedicate their lives to looking after the elderly and frail.”
“We do accept the victim was possibly not the easiest gentlemen to deal with, but he does require total respect and it was a breach of trust.”