Health care assistant jailed for slapping elderly patients

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A FORMER health care assistant has been jailed for eight months after she systematically abused three vulnerable and defenceless residents at a Yorkshire nursing home.

Leeds woman June Downer, who was dismissed from her post at the Ashfield House nursing home on Thornton Road, Bradford in February last year, slapped a 65-year-old woman across the face while she was on the toilet.

On another occasion Downer smacked a 58-year-old resident with learning difficulties three times on thigh while she was naked from the waist down.

Bradford Crown Court heard how a 65-year-old man with Down’s Syndrome was also smacked across the arms by Downer.

Prosecutor Paul Reid told Judge Neil Davey QC that only four of the 17 residents at the home were able to communicate and between June and September 2012 Downer’s behaviour towards them caused concern among staff.

Downer, 61, of Southroyd Park, Pudsey, pleaded guilty last month three offences of ill-treating residents who lacked mental capacity.

A fourth allegation involving another elderly woman was ordered to lie on the file by Judge Davey.

When Downer was questioned by police she denied slapping any residents.

Her barrister Tony Kelbrick said he could not give any explanation for the offending and Downer herself had no real memory of doing what she had now admitted.

“This is a lady who has been in the care profession for many years and I have calculated nearly 5000 days employment in that particular field,” he told Judge Davey.

“Your honour is concerned with sentencing her for incidents which occurred over a very short period of time in the middle of 2012.”

The court heard that Downer had no previous convictions and was at the lower end of the intelligence scale.

Judge Davey said Downer had not shown any remorse for what she had done and although her intelligence was at the lower end of the scale that was no excuse for the offences.