A JUDGE condemned the “outrageous behaviour” of two Bolton Council care workers as he jailed them for abusing vulnerable and severely disabled adults in their care.
Sentencing the pair at Manchester Crown Court yesterday, Judge Robert Atherton said they had betrayed the people they were supposed to be caring for.
He added: “They were as vulnerable as newborn babies. They depended upon people caring.
“Why you behaved as you did, I do not know. When you changed from caring to this sort of behaviour I do not know, but change you must have done.”
Judge Atherton jailed Ann Leach, aged 48, of Piggott Street, Farnworth, who was earlier found guilty of nine counts of ill treatment of a person without capacity, for 21 months.
Her colleague Joanne Robinson, aged 47, of Bolton Road, Kearsley, was also earlier found guilty of five charges of the same count and was jailed for 15 months.
Both women, who had no previous convictions and had worked as carers in Bolton for several decades, were also banned from working with vulnerable adults for life.
A jury had unanimously found them guilty of the abuse on June 1, after a 16-day trial.
During the trial, the court had heard harrowing stories of the abuse that the pair would inflict on two of the residents in their care at a home in Worsley Road, Farnworth.
One of the residents, 44-year-old Yvette Smith, who suffers from a rare chromosomal disorder, which results in her being virtually blind, doubly incontinent and prone to self-harming, received the brunt of the abuse.
Leach and Robinson would use towels to trap her into her bedroom and would forcibly strap her into another resident’s chair.
They used offensive language towards her and Robinson was convicted of pushing and swearing at her.
Leach was convicted of throwing a jug of cold water over the woman, spraying an aerosol in her face, pinning her up against a wall and being aggressive towards her.
She was also convicted of abuse against one of the male residents in her care, who suffered from severe cerebral palsy and was wheelchair-bound.
Judge Atherton said: “You betrayed her and you betrayed her mother. Yvette was very lucky that for many years of her life, Mr and Mrs Smith were able to care for her.
“But the sad reality of life is that if you have a child who is born with severe difficulties there comes a time when you grow too old to look after them and you have to do what goes against every inch of a parent and turn to others and trust others to care for them.”
Addressing Leach he added: “One of the few things that Yvette had in life was to enjoy being in the bath and like a child, waited until the water went down to get out. You couldn’t wait for her and you poured cold water on her. Your behaviour to Yvette was outrageous.”
The court heard that Robinson, a single mother-of-two and the carer of her five-month-old granddaughter, suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and that Leach’s young granddaughter died during the trial and her 16-year-old son has been badly affected by the case and was receiving counselling.