Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Disabled patients abuse: Two Solar Centre carers guilty

Susan Murphy and James Hinds
Image caption Murphy and Hinds will be sentenced next month

Two care assistants have been found guilty of mistreating severely disabled patients in their care.

A jury heard that people attending the Solar Centre at St Catherine's Hospital in Doncaster were abused and tormented by James Hinds and Susan Murphy.

Hinds, 59, was found guilty of 10 counts of ill-treatment and Murphy, 43, was found guilty of 15 counts.

Care assistant Julie Burge, 48, and physiotherapy assistant Michael Barnard were cleared of all charges.

Judge Rosalind Coe told Hinds and Murphy they would be sentenced on 14 June.

Hit around head

She said: "You are both fully aware that custodial sentences are the likely outcome."

Hinds was acquitted of a further nine charges and Murphy was cleared on five counts after the jury deliberated for two days.

Both were given conditional bail but were remanded in custody until their passports could be brought to the court and surrendered, as the judge heard they had been living in Spain.

Image caption The offences took place at the Solar Centre between January 2005 and March 2007

Hinds and Murphy were found guilty of ill-treating 12 different outpatients between them at the centre.

All were extremely vulnerable adults, with limited communication abilities and a range of physical disabilities, including blindness.

Many of the attacks involved patients being slapped and hit around the head.

Hinds threw one man into a wheelchair, dragged another to the toilet and hit another with a microphone.

Murphy locked one woman in a cupboard, the court heard.

The attacks happened between January 2005 and March 2007.

Police were called in after a member of staff decided to leave in March 2007 and made formal allegations about the mistreatment of patients.

The Solar Centre is run by Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH).

Outside court, Dr Nav Ahluwalia, executive medical director for RDaSH said: "We fully apologised to service users and their families at the time of the incidents and we apologise again today for the actions of the individuals that have been found guilty."

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