Slyne care home worker ‘slapped elderly man across the face’, court told

Hillcroft Nursing Home, Throstle Grove, Slyne wth Hest.
Hillcroft Nursing Home, Throstle Grove, Slyne wth Hest.

A cleaner at a Lancaster care home at the centre of an alleged abuse scandal has told a court how she witnessed a senior care home worker slap an elderly man across the face.

Lisa Greenlands, giving evidence at the trial of three women who worked at Hillcroft Nursing Home, Slyne, said she saw defendant Carol Anne Moore, 54, attack the resident from behind his chair.

Moore was the team leader in the Coniston Unit, a dementia care unit, where her two co-defendants Katie Cairns, 27, and Gemma Pearson, 28, also worked.

All are on trial accused of ill-treatment or neglect of a person who lacks capacity, under the Mental Capacity Act.

A jury of nine women and three men heard Moore had been suspended for 10 days when Miss Greenlands made a complaint about her, but then came back to work.

Under cross examination, a defence barrister suggested as Moore was only around 5ft 2in, and one of the alleged victims chair’s was tall, she would not have been able to slap him from behind.

Miss Greenlands replied: “I would not say so.”

She told the court Moore had not said anything to the elderly man, just slapped him.

The defence barrister asked why the cleaner had not said anything and she replied: “Because I felt I couldn’t. I felt uncomfortable.”

She told the court she was “not happy” when Moore returned to the unit to work but said she had not contacted the police because she believed the complaint had gone through the disciplinary channels.

Miss Greenlands had spoken to a Lancashire County Council worker in May 2011 about the allegations she made about Moore but did not mention anything about an incident in which she allegedly threw bean bags at a resident.

The defence barrister suggested this was because she had not witnessed Moore doing it, but Miss Greenlands replied: “I did.”

The barrister said: “Mrs Moore was a caring and decent member of staff and the witness answered: “Before she got onto the Coniston Unit she was.”

Moore, of Ripon Avenue, Lancaster, faces six charges under the act, Cairns, of Riverview Court, Morecambe, four counts and Pearson, of Hill Street, Carnforth, a single count.

The charges span a period between May 2010 to September 2011 and relate to eight alleged victims.

All three women worked on the day shift on the unit, which housed residents diagnosed with dementia and displayed “challenging behaviour”.

A fourth man who worked with them, Darren Smith, 35, of Howgill Avenue, Lancaster, has already admitted eight counts and is not on trial.

The court was previously told the defendants, and Darren Smith, in “varying ways” ill-treated residents and that they “mocked them, bullied them and on occasions deliberately assaulted them.

Bean bags that should have been used as part of recreational therapy were thrown so hard and fast residents were unable to catch them, jurors heard.

Pearson allegedly tipped tip a resident out of his wheelchair when he failed to stand up, causing him to stumble.

Cairns, it was alleged, would pick on one man in particular, pulling loose skin on his neck and laughing, while making a crude comment.

In one instance another cleaner, Miss Bateman, said she saw Darren Smith and a second member of staff, named in court as Sean Long, in bed with a male resident and demanded to know what was going on.

The three women deny all the charges and the trial continues.