Care worker in patient abuse case is jailed

A care worker who physically abused dementia sufferers has been jailed for nine months by a judge who said she had robbed her bewildered clients of their dignity in the twilight of their lives, when they were as helpless as children.

He spoke out after hearing how Tina Gillespie, 31, slapped and violently restrained four patients then blamed the vulnerable victims for her "cruelty" and "ill temper".

The court heard how she pushed the confused people around and slapped one elderly woman so hard her glasses flew off her face.

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Between February and August last year, Gillespie, an employee at Elsinor Residential Care Home in Esplanade Gardens, Scarborough, assaulted one resident and ill-treated three others – all of whom suffered from debilitating dementia.

York Crown Court heard how she knocked the glasses off a confused 84-year-old woman's face, leaving a red mark on the victim's cheek.

Gillespie, of Windsor Terrace, Whitby, had on another occasion restrained another resident in a non-approved manner and then began to poke and shove him with such force as she moved him out of the lounge that he suffered visible injuries.

Passing sentence, Judge Patrick Robertshaw told her: "You were a professional paid to exercise skill, competence and above all compassion.

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"These are highly vulnerable individuals each coming to the close of their lives. In the bewilderment and confusion of their last days they were human beings above all else.

"Clearly you were wholly unsuited to the work you were being paid to do."

He went on to say that her actions "robbed them of their dignity" and that the manner in which she conducted herself "towards human beings no less vulnerable than young children" was revolting.

Matthew Bean, prosecuting, told the court that in February last year Gillespie became agitated when 84-year-old Joan Cox knocked a table with the door as she was being pushed into a sitting room at the home. The care worker struggled with her and shouted "How dare you do that" before slapping her with the back of her hand and knocking her glasses off – leaving Mrs Cox with a red mark on her nose and cheek.

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In March Gillespie had an altercation with Jane Scotter, 87, pushing her from behind. "She pushed her so hard that her legs were buckling beneath her," said Mr Bean.

Five months later Gillespie pushed Robert Lees so hard into his chair that he fell off and banged his head and later in the same month she restrained Tom Stephenson and poked him in the back telling him to "get out of my lounge".

"He was treated for a one inch cut to his chest, possibly caused by a fingernail," Mr Bean told the court.

Adam Birkby, mitigating, said: "She is deeply sorry for the hurt and upset she has caused. She has realised she does not have the skills and temperament to care for the elderly and has withdrawn completely from that industry."

Gillespie previously pleaded guilty to one count of common assault and three counts of ill treating a person lacking capacity.

No one at the Scarborough home was available for comment yesterday.