Somerset

Care home death whistle-blower receives award

Sarah Barnett
Image caption Ms Barnett was described as "immensely brave" by police

The woman who blew the whistle on a care home manager later found guilty of killing one of her residents has received an award.

Sarah Barnett, who was a carer at Parkfields home in Butleigh, Somerset, said she just wished she had raised her concerns about Rachel Baker sooner.

Ms Barnett was given the Waley Cohen award by Avon and Somerset Police.

The senior investigating officer in the case was commended for his work at the same ceremony.

Baker, 49, was convicted at Bristol Crown Court in April 2010 of the manslaughter of Lucy Cox, 97.

The court heard Baker, a registered nurse, gave Mrs Cox lethal doses of medication.

At the time, the 49-year-old was abusing controlled drugs she had stolen from the care home.

Baker admitted 10 counts of possessing Class A and C drugs and one count of perverting the course of justice.

Ms Barnett said she saw the award as recognition of her integrity but would not describe her actions as brave.

Image caption Baker was convicted of manslaughter

She said: "Personally I wish we had done it earlier, desperately wish we had done it earlier.

"People out there who could be in our position - don't wait for that 100% proof, don't wait to be 100% certain.

"If you're concerned and you're worried, take that to somebody, give it to them to look into and pass the responsibility on early."

Det Supt Trevor Simpson, who led the investigation, said Ms Barnett was "immensely brave".

He said her actions had led to her becoming unemployed and that she had put herself through "a bit of a nightmare for the three years that followed, the investigation and the trial".

"We believed what we were told... and gradually we built the evidence that proved she was guilty of very serious offences," Mr Simpson said.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites