Tyne & Wear

Care worker Sean Abbott jailed for assaults on elderly

Sean Abbott
Image caption Sean Abbott assaulted patients who were in their 80s

A care worker who assaulted two elderly residents at a nursing home in South Tyneside has been jailed for a year.

Sean Abbott, of Gainsborough Avenue, South Shields, admitted four charges of assault on the patients in their 80s.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the 21-year-old had been responsible for vulnerable residents at St Michael's View Care Home in South Shields.

The home was run by Southern Cross Healthcare at the time of the abuse, but is now under new management.

Northumbria Police welcomed the sentence and said the inquiry had been "complicated and sensitive".

Last month, in a separate case at the same care home, nurse Daphne Joseph, 46, of Graham Street, South Shields, admitted the ill treatment and neglect of resident Joyce Wordingham, 80, who later died.

'Not enough training'

The court heard that Joseph failed to call a doctor when dementia patient Mrs Wordingham became "dangerously ill" in February 2010 - one was only called after her death.

She was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for a year.

Mr Justice Peter Coulson said Joseph had not undergone enough training.

Image caption Joseph failed to call a doctor for an elderly patient who later died

He said: "You were operating in a regime which was inadequate and not fit for purpose in which there were too many patients, not enough planning and too few staff let alone trained staff."

In a joint statement, South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Primary Care Trust said action was taken to improve the home as soon as concerns were raised.

It said: "The home was run by private operator Southern Cross at the time of these events but has been taken over by a new operator following the company's well-documented collapse last year.

"Checks carried out by the Care Quality Commission in November provide strong evidence that the home has improved and is now meeting all of the government standards expected of it."

Det Chief Insp Ian Bentham, of the Northumbria force, said: "The guilty pleas entered have brought this long running enquiry to a conclusion and have spared the victims and witnesses any further ordeal of a trial.

"This was a sensitive and complicated case which took some considerable time to investigate.

"Care homes house some of our most vulnerable citizens, many of whom are unable to make reasoned judgements themselves, therefore they should be fully protected."

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