Southampton Briars care home bosses sentenced

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Annette Hopkins (l) and Margaret Priest
Image caption,
Annette Hopkins and Margaret Priest had denied all the charges

A care home owner has avoided jail after she was convicted of ill-treating and neglecting residents.

Annette Hopkins, 65, who owned Briars Retirement Home, Southampton, was order to pay a total of £52,000 and given a 30-week suspended prison sentence.

Care home manager Margaret Priest, 56, was ordered to carry out 200 hours community service after also being found guilty of wilful neglect.

Southampton Crown Court heard they were both "unqualified" to do their job.

The court heard how residents, who were aged between 77 to 96, were left in soiled sheets for lengthy periods and had suffered painful bed sores.

The home was closed down in September last year.

Judge Derwin Hope said both were unqualified to do their job and they had not kept up with legislation to protect vulnerable people.

But he decided not to jail them because they were "obviously caring people" based on the references from their supporters.

Hopkins, of Thorold Road, Bitterne, who had her jail term suspended for 18 months, was fined £3,000 for each of the nine counts against her, totalling £27,000.

She was also ordered to pay £25,000 costs and carry out 200 hours community service.

Priest, of Lydgate Green, Hightown, who was convicted of four charges, will not have to pay anything.

An 18-month investigation into the home was triggered by staff at Southampton General Hospital after one of the residents was admitted last year.

A spokesperson for independent health and social care the Care Quality Commission said: "We hope the relatives of those previously living at The Briars are reassured that Mrs Hopkins and Mrs Priest have been held to account."

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