1. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    South Ribble

    I just thought I would post about going to sit in the public gallery yesterday for the trial of the owners of one of the care homes that my mum was a resident in. I went yesterday - the trial was at the end of its third week and will continue next week.

    I am not sure how much I can or can't say, but I guess I can't discuss here what I saw in court until the case is over. However, I am sure that I can say that they (the owners - a husband and wife - and one of the carers) are charged with neglect, force feeding of residents, and also the fact that one of their staff immersed a 99 year old lady in a bath of scalding water. All of these facts have been on the local TV news, so I assume I can repeat them here.

    I went along with various other relatives, who were very welcoming to me, and filled me in on all the details of the case so far. There was also a police officer there supporting the families.

    I will say more about this at the end of the trial, if people are interested in hearing about it. I thought it is relevant to our job as carers really, even though it is two years now since my mum died, and she was only in that particular home for three months, I had made a complaint while she was in there. I may well go back on Monday and watch some more cross examination.

    It did stir up a lot of memories for me but, in a way, I wanted to show "the system" that there are people out there who are concerned to see that justice is done.
  2. creativesarah

    creativesarah Registered User

    what a brave thing to do
    I was in the public gallery after I had given a character witness in my friends murder trial. It was agonising but I was glad I has been there,
    Every case/person is different so don't feel you need to go just follow your heart

    The police said it showed the jury that we cared. If you do go don't be afraid to walk out if it gets too much. We listened to a bit of the autopsy but I managed to get my friends mum to come out for some of the worst of it.I have never forgotten it and when I came home I went into a local orchard and screamed and ranted until I had got it out of my system.

    I pray you will have the wisdom to know what to do and how much you can take
    Much love Sarah
  3. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    South Ribble
    Thanks so much Sarah, so good to hear from you :)

    I will go if it feels right... I am glad you see what I mean about caring. The system is all wrong... people aren't getting the care they need.
  4. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    This case was in the papers last week, don't worry, you've said no more than the reports I've been reading and you are not a member of the jury. Its just sad and upsetting when things like this come to light.
  5. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    You are beyond brave Pied. I hope that if these owners are found guilty that it will be on the National news and they receive lengthy prison sentences. Your Mum would be so proud of your courage -but do think of yourself if it all becomes to much for you.


    Lyn T XX
  6. turbo

    turbo Registered User

    Aug 1, 2007
    Well Done pied for being brave enough to attend court. I hope if they are found guilty they will receive long prison sentences to act as a deterrent to others who think it is ok to treat vulnerable people in such a dreadful way.
  7. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    South Ribble
    Thanks Tin, and thank you Lyn, turbo and Kassy (lovely to hear from you :))

    The funny thing is that I liked the owner at the time, so I feel a little bit betrayed by what has happened. It is funny: you think you remember the carers you trusted, and the ones you didn't, and it feels like a slap in the face.

    Kassy - you have been way braver than me! So please don't go calling me brave. I could not do what you have done, since your poor mum suffered in the "system".

    However it happened, this poor lady got scalded, and I just don't know how a system can let that happen. It should never have happened.

    I have got a lot more to say about what's been said in court, but I had better wait til the case is done with! :mad::)
  8. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Hallo Pied,
    I would be very interested to hear more about the court case when and if you are able to post it. I am so glad you got your mum out of there. My mum is now in full time care but they are lovely kind people who totally understand dementia and its knock on effects. x
  9. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    South Ribble
    Hi there sisterm! Thanks for posting :) How lovely to hear from so many old friends. I am always nervous of coming on because you realise how serious a situation so many posters find themselves in. I hope you're ok?
  10. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    West Midlands
    How lovely to "see" you pied :)

    Brave is when you move an unwanted spider.....
    I think you are more than brave..... courageous doesn't really cover what I'm trying to say..... The putting yourself through going to the court - but I totally understand why you feel the need. Just be careful of your emotional self won't you xx

    I do hope that if they are convicted they are "made an example of" even if they possibly "get off" due to a technicality, I hope the situation of the court case is highlighted in the press at least.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  11. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    South Ribble
    I went to court again yesterday and today. I wasn't allowed in yesterday as the public gallery was full (there are only 12 seats and they were all taken - 2 by police officers!), so I tried again today and got there an hour early and queued!

    There were more witnesses interviewed today, and then the care home owner was cross examined which took the majority of the day.

    Tomorrow we think the summing up will begin and then the jury may retire by the weekend. I am not sure really.

    I won't go back tomorrow - I think I have heard what I wanted to hear - but I will post again, when it's all done with.

    Thanks for all the replies and good wishes. I have found it a positive experience. In a way it is ironic, seeing the high expectations the court has of the standard of care they expect in a care home. It vindicates my own expectations.
  12. grove

    grove Registered User

    Aug 24, 2010
    North Yorkshire

    Hello Pied , Glad you found a **seat ** today in Court ( gosh 12 seats does not seem a lot for the Public or is it only a medium size Town it covers ? )

    You are very brave in going Pied ( am not sure I could have gone had I been in a similar type of position ) Glad you found it a positive experience & hope the Jury are able too make the right verdict that they think is best etc Not easy for them am sure !

    Take care Pied & good too hear from you

    Will pop back** too find out what happen

    Love Grove x x
  13. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    South Ribble
    Hi Grove

    No it's not a small town, it's Preston Court which deals with big trials, like the Dale Cregan one. The court this is happening in is Court 9 which is one of the smaller courts. This means that there are fewer seats in the public gallery.

    I guess they have had a busy day today although I did not go. It seemed like they were nearly ready to sum up so I thought I don't really want to sit through all that!

  14. grove

    grove Registered User

    Aug 24, 2010
    North Yorkshire

    Thanks Pied for your reply & explanation ( have never been too Preston so was not sure how small or big it was ! )

    Yes quite agree about not wanting too sit thru the summing up either ! Would not want too sit on any Jury either !

    Will be sitting on the edge of my seat ! for your next post Pied

    Love Grove x
  15. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    Pied as you're not a juror there is nothing to prevent you reporting anything said in open court UNLESS the judge has ordered the media not to report and it doesn't sound like he/she has. If the judge didn't want you knowing something he/she would clear the court and discuss it with the barristers only.

    One of the points of our judicial system is that it is open -- that nobody is tried and judged behind closed doors. However upsetting hearing the details of the abuse are, aren't you glad that the jury, the reporters, and other people have heard how all those people suffered? Let's hope if the jury find the defendants guilty they get an appropriate sentence.
  16. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    South Ribble
    Update - the jury have delivered their verdicts today

    Thanks boldredrosie, I wasn't sure what I was allowed to say, although I suppose, thinking about it, court reporters do recount what has happened in court each day.

    Anyway - today the judge discharged the jury, after more than 36 hours of deliberations. All three defendants were found guilty of failing to seek medical treatment for the 99 year old lady who was placed in a scalding hot bath. What the jury could not reach a verdict on, as I understand it, was who actually put the lady in the scalding bath. The accused had denied it and all blamed someone else.

    So, the sentencing will take place on 2 October, at noon. I believe the verdicts will be reported on North West Tonight on the BBC at 6.30 pm tonight, in case anyone wants to watch.

    What alarmed me a little as I sat and watched in court, was the idealistic view the prosecuting barrister took of life in a care home. He seemed to assume that all elderly people have a varied choice of food at meal times, that they all can choose when to have a bath, and that basically they can expect to get personalised treatment. I think he will have a shock if he ever ends up in a care home. He was kind of being slightly ironic in his tone of voice when he spoke about the "bath rota" as though he was mildly surprised that there should be such a thing. He said at one point, "I haven't had my weekly bath yet" and there was some muted chuckling in court.

    Also, the prosecuting barrister appeared to assume that if people needed assistance with feeding at meal times (one of the charges that they were convicted on was force feeding), then the "manager would need to know, so she could adjust staffing, as feeding people would take a considerable amount of time".

    I remember a carer telling me once that "we are allowed ten minutes per patient to feed them. Anything your mum doesn't eat or drink in that time, well, she won't get another chance." This was when I was arguing with them that Mum choked when she got tired and they needed to give her time to rest between mouthfuls. They were basically saying, "Chance would be a fine thing."

    It just showed me really what the barrister's expectations of "good enough care" were, compared to mine. But my expectations have been hewn on the hard rock of experience!

    The police said on their website: “The investigation revealed that these residents were victims of mistreatment at the hands of these defendants, the very people who were trusted to look after them and who were supposed to treat them with dignity at all times."

    It really is deplorable, and the police are asking for anyone who has witnessed the abuse of elderly people to come forward "without delay."

    I am pleased about this verdict, as a couple of days ago, the first few charges came back as Not Guilty, and I started to think that they wouldn't be convicted of any of the charges, but the most important ones have gone through as guilty, and that is enough for me.

    I feel that justice has been done. The judge has not ruled out custodial sentences, I have been told.

    I will report back when sentences are passed.
  17. Soobee

    Soobee Registered User

    Aug 22, 2009
    Thanks pied.

    Thank you for going to attend this awful court case and thank you for reporting back to us. I am glad they have been found guilty of the important charges.

    It is horrendous that these things ever happen.
  18. sallyc

    sallyc Registered User

    Aug 20, 2008
    Hiya Pied.

    I rarely post on here but I occasionally pop in to have a read and catch up. It was lovely to see your name pop up.

    Well done for going to the court. I know how much your Mum's care meant to you and I know what it's like to have a loved one in a care home which is not right.

  19. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    South Ribble
    Thanks and so lovely to hear from you too Sal, I often think about you and hope you are going on ok.

    Just a warning - you might not want to read this post if you are feeling fragile or concerned for a relative who is in a care home. I know if I had a relative in a care home, I would not want to read about this case.

    I feel dreadful really. Having watched North West Tonight I saw a lady talking about how her mum had said she had been ill treated at the home, and she hadn't believed her mum. She said, "I was told Mum had dementia, and that people with dementia lie. Mum said, If you don't believe me, I am not going to talk to you any more," and that was the last thing she ever said to me. She never spoke to me again."

    Those of you who remember me talking about Mum at that time may remember that this was the time Mum told me there was a care worker who would wait outside her room to come in and attack her. Like this other lady, I thought Mum was paranoid because of her dementia. She would beg me not to leave her.

    Now I wonder, was there more truth to what Mum was saying than I believed at the time? I knew she didn't like this one carer called B, and there was another carer who shouted at Mum, which I witnessed, and intervened, but Mum liked the owners of the care home, who are the very ones who have been convicted today.

    Ah, well, if I could have my time again I would have fought harder and I did take Mum out of that care home, after three months. The owners tried really hard to persuade me not to move Mum. I just wish I had moved her sooner. :(

    However, shortly after this, just a matter of a couple of months later, I was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo surgery, chemo and radio, so I wasn't in a fit state to care for her adequately. Now I sound like I am just making excuses.

    I have to keep in mind it wasn't just me, there were numerous other relatives in court, and, as for the poor lady who was scalded, I heard she had no living relatives and it was a health visitor who alerted the authorities to this lady's injuries.

    If this was happening in a nursery school, to a toddler or pre school child, it would be on the national news. But in this case, because it's an elderly lady, it's barely hit the headlines. When are we going to look after the elderly properly? :mad:
  20. grove

    grove Registered User

    Aug 24, 2010
    North Yorkshire
    Evening Pied

    Hello Pied , Thank you for your Report** not sure what too say except am sorry you are feeling dreadful (which I guess is understandable ) ..................

    So sending much Love & BIG HUGS & am thinking of you

    Take care

    Much Love & Kind thoughts

    Love Grove x x x x

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