THE DEPUTY manager of a care home who mistreated two vulnerable residents in their 90s has avoided going to jail ‘by a hair’s breadth.’
Debra Bott had originally pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of ill-treatment of people who ‘lacked capacity’ – but later changed her pleas to guilty.
The 54 year-old of Alcester Road, Studley, was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work and to pay £500 costs.
Prosecutor Gerald Bermingham said the case involved the ill-treatment of a man and a woman at the Field View residential care home in Redditch, where Bott was the deputy manager at the time.
Both victims at the home, which has 17 residents, were vulnerable, and the 94-year-old woman, who was blind, partially deaf and suffered from dementia, had lived there for 20 years.
Matters came to light in September 2014 when another member of staff raised concerns with the Care Quality Commission that Bott should not be working in the care system because she had ‘a terrible temper.’
An investigation revealed Bolt had smacked a a 90-year-old man hard on the back, causing a large hand print, and another staff member said it was the norm for Bott to be ‘horrible’ towards a 94-year-old woman resident and to verbally abuse her.
A handyman at the home was told by Bott the old lady had been misbehaving, and Bott made him go to her room and pretend he was a policeman to scare her.
The elderly resident had a curved spine, which made it hard for her to raise her head, and other members of staff were concerned at the rough way Bott would grab her chin and pull her head up at meal times.
She was also seen on several occasions pushing the old lady’s chair in, trapping her fingers between it and the table.
But when she was questioned Bott denied the allegations and claimed they were malicious complaints.
Glyn Samuel, defending, said Bott had showed some remorse, but he accepted the only way to describe her treatment of the old lady was as bullying.
Sentencing Bott, Judge Andrew Lockhart told her: “Both of those people were extremely vulnerable. They were placed in that home in order that they might be cared for.
“You were trusted by their relatives to look after those people and to care for them in a kind and proper manner. You were working in a position of some trust as deputy manager.
“This type of offending has a corrosive effect on the care network in this country, and the public has to have confidence it will be dealt with correctly.
“But you are a woman of 54 and were of good character. Only a custodial sentence can be justified, but I have heard submissions about the suspension of that sentence. I have considered long and hard whether it is appropriate, and I am just persuaded I can suspend it.
“But you have avoided custody by a hair’s breadth.”