Winterbourne View: Care workers jailed for abuse
- 26 October 2012
- From the section Bristol
Six out of 11 care workers who admitted a total of 38 charges of neglect or abuse of patients at a private hospital have been jailed.
Five other workers from Winterbourne View near Bristol were given suspended sentences after the acts of abuse were uncovered by BBC Panorama.
Ringleader Wayne Rogers, 32, who admitted nine counts of ill-treating patients, was jailed for two years.
Judge Neil Ford QC said there was a "culture of cruelty" at the care home.
'Vile and inexcusable'
Judge Ford said no attempt was made to provide a caring environment and if the abuse had not been uncovered by the BBC, it would have continued.
He told the sentencing hearing the home had been "run with a scandalous lack of regard to patients and staff".
"What happened was a gross breach of trust," he said.
Alison Dove, 25, of Kingswood, was jailed for 20 months as was Graham Doyle, 26, of Patchway. Both pleaded guilty to seven charges of abuse.
Addressing Dove, Judge Ford said: "You suggested it was born of boredom during long shifts and that you had viewed patients as playthings."
He also referred to a letter Doyle wrote to him, in which the defendant had described his own behaviour as "disgusting, vile and inexcusable".
'Bite face off'
Judge Ford then told Doyle: "You are considered genuinely remorseful and haunted by guilt.
"But your treatment of Simone Blake was often cruel, callous and degrading. It was always wholly unjustified."
Prosecutor Kerry Barker QC, said care watchdogs failed to act on repeated warnings of "inhumane, cruel and hate-fuelled treatment" of patients.
"The so-called restraint techniques were used to inflict pain, humiliate patients and bully them into compliance with the demands of their carers," he said.
Abuse of five residents at the home featured in footage played to the court during a week of sentencing hearings.
Among the hours of graphic footage, support worker Rogers is shown slapping patient Simon Tovey across the cheek before telling him: "Do you want a scrap? Do you want a fight? Go on and I will bite your bloody face off."
In a statement read outside court after the hearing, families of the abused patients said seeing the footage had been "distressing and extremely harrowing".
"The guilty parties were only charged with offences shown on the Panorama programme and it would be naive to believe that this monstrous behaviour had not been continuing for a very long time," they said.
Lawyers representing 17 families say they are now pursuing compensation in a civil action against Castlebeck, who owned Winterbourne View.
Defendant Jason Gardiner, who received a suspended jail term after admitting two charges of abuse, said he wanted to apologise for his actions.
"I take full responsibility for everything I have done," he said outside the court.
"It was a very difficult place to work, a tough place to work. We were under-staffed and working 12-hour days without a break.
"All I can do is apologise to everybody for what happened."
Sentencing Gardiner, Judge Ford had said he had heard he was "barely coping" with his remorse and regret.
James Welch, legal director of human rights campaign group Liberty, said he was "disappointed" with some of the sentences but thought the judge had been fair.
The home's owners, Castlebeck, said there had been "extensive changes in board and management" and new measures introduced to ensure it could not happen again.
The Care Quality Commission, which was heavily criticised after it ignored attempts by whistleblower Terry Bryan to inform them of the abuse that was happening at the home, said the responsibility for the abuse rested with the home's owners Castlebeck and individual employees.
Outgoing chair of the CQC, Dame Jo Williams said: "We are committed to do all we can to protect people whose circumstances make them vulnerable - and since the abuse at Winterbourne View was uncovered we have made changes to ensure that we are better placed to prevent abuse."
Care and Support minister Norman Lamb said: "This terrible case has revealed the criminal and inhuman acts some so-called care workers are capable of.
"It has also shone a light on major flaws in the system which we will address. We will publish our final recommendations very soon."
Sentences of all those found guilty are detailed below:
- Wayne Rogers, 32, of Kingswood, jailed for two years after admitting nine charges of ill-treatment.
- Alison Dove, 25, of Kingswood, was jailed for 20 months for seven counts of abuse;
- Graham Doyle, 26, of Patchway, was jailed for 20 months for seven counts of abuse;
- Nurse Sookalingum Appoo, 59, of Downend jailed for six months for wilfully neglecting patients;
- Nurse Kelvin Fore, 33, from Middlesbrough, also jailed for six months for wilfully neglecting patients;
- Holly Laura Draper, 24, of Mangotsfield, pleaded guilty to two charges of abuse and was jailed for 12 months;
- Daniel Brake, 27, of Downend, pleaded guilty to two charges of abuse and was given a six month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work;
- Charlotte Justine Cotterell, 22, from Yate, pleaded guilty to one charge of abuse and was given a four-month jail term suspended for two years. Cotterell was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and complete 12 months supervision;
- Michael Ezenagu, 29, from Shepherds Bush, west London, admitted two counts of abuse and was given a six month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work;
- Neil Ferguson, 28, of Emerson Green, admitted one count of abuse and was given a six month jail term was suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work;
- Jason Gardiner, 43, of Hartcliffe, who admitted two charges of abuse, was given a four month jail term was suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.