A WOMAN who mistreated two vulnerable residents in their 90s at the Redditch care home where she was the deputy manager 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.
Bott, 54, 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 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 Crabbs Cross, Redditch.
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.
She had been in the care system for a large part of her life, ‘and to move her away from familiar sounds and smells would be cruel,’ observed Mr Bermingham.
So Bott’s threats to get the police to threaten her and to put her outside in the garden would be things the old lady found disturbing.
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 that in 2012 Bott had been elbowed in the face as she and another carer were assisting a 90-year-old man.
“Whether or not that was deliberate was not clear, but her reaction was to smack him hard to the back, causing a large hand print. That was reported and she accepted it had happened.”
Another staff member said that in 2014 it was the norm for Bott to be ‘horrible’ towards the 94-year-old female 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 questioned Bott denied the allegations and claimed they were malicious complaints.
Glyn Samuel, defending, conceded: “The sentencing authorities show that count two on its own passes the custody threshold, and there’s no dispute about that.”
Sentencing Bott, Judge Lockhart told her: “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.
“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.”