Care assistants who tormented severely disabled patients face jail

James Hinds and Susan Murphy outside Sheffield Crown Court
James Hinds and Susan Murphy outside Sheffield Crown Court
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Two care assistants were yesterday found guilty of mistreating severely disabled patients at a mental health unit in Yorkshire.

James Hinds, 59, and Susan Murphy, 43, were found guilty of the ill-treatment of patients at St Catherine’s Hospital in Doncaster, which is run by the Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust (RDASH).

A jury at Sheffield Crown Court heard that people attending the hospital’s Solar Centre were abused and tormented by Hinds who was convicted on 10 counts and Murphy who was convicted on 15.

Another care assistant, Julie Burge, 48, was cleared of all charges she faced while a physiotherapy assistant, Michael Barnard, was also acquitted of all charges.

Judge Rosalind Coe told the pair they would be sentenced on June 14. She said: “You are both fully aware that custodial sentences are the likely outcome.”

Hinds was acquitted of nine further charges and Murphy was cleared of five further charges after the jury of five men and seven women deliberated for two days.

The verdicts came after a month-long trial.

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

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

All are 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.

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

Justice at last: Page 5.