A CARE worker flashed her bare breasts at a severely disabled man and posed for pictures after placing a carrot between his legs.

Humna Mirza claimed she playing a prank but, sentencing her at Bolton Crown Court, Recorder Simon Hilton told her: “This wasn’t just humiliation, this was cruelty.”

Mirza had been highly regarded by her employers, Bolton-based Lifeways Community Care, but her appalling behaviour, targeting a man who has Down’s Syndrome, has limited movement after a stroke and who cannot speak, came to light when pictures were sent, anonymously, to bosses.

Robert Smith, prosecuting, told how Mirza’s victim and four others were living at a home in Bolton which caters for people with complex care needs.

“On May 10 last year management received seven photographs from an unattributed e-mail address,” said Mr Smith.

“The photos depicted the victim and the defendant and had clearly been taken on different dates.”

The Bolton News: Mirza leaves courtMirza leaves court

In one of the pictures the man was asleep in his chair and had a carrot placed between his legs.

“The defendant was squatting over the top of him, facing towards the camera and laughing. She clearly knew she was being photographed,” said Mr Smith.

In two other photographs, taken at Christmas time as a Christmas tree is the background, Mirza could be seen exposing her naked breasts to the victim.

In other pictures she also exposed herself to the man.

Mr Smith said that when she saw the photographs, Lifeways service manager Sarah Cook was “shocked”.

"She described the photos as sickening and expresses her disgust that a vulnerable person could be treated in this way," said Mr Smith.

“Only a few weeks before she had cause to praise the defendant for her work and she was being considered for additional responsibilities."

Mirza, aged 30, of Brooklyn Street, Bolton, was suspended and when arrested and questioned by police the following month, named others she said were involved but the court heard there was insufficient evidence to bring prosecutions against them.

"The defendant denied any malicious intent and suggested that it was a bit of a joke," said Mr Smith.

She claimed that, on one occasion, the victim had been trying to eat a banana but a colleague kept pulling it away from him, causing him distress.

"Her colleagues found it funny, however she hadn't reported it because it was 'a bit of a prank'," said Mr Smith.

He added: "The case clearly involves a breach of trust. Of concern, of course, The images were taken of a vulnerable person, being embarrassed in, what could be argued, was a sexual way although she is not charged with a sexual offence.

"He was humiliated and the defendant was aware those photographs were being taken."

Mirza alleged that she had been coerced into having pictures taken with the defendant by colleagues in December 2020 and January 2021 and that they had been sent to management as revenge after she complained about some of her workmates.

She pleaded guilty to being a care worker who ill-treated an individual.

The Bolton News: Huma MirzaHuma Mirza

Michael James, defending, stressed that Mirza, who had worked for Lifeways for eight years, has no previous convictions and has admitted her behaviour.

"She accepts that her behaviour was wrong and she has expressed remorse and regret," said Mr James.

"It doesn't justify in any way what happened, but she describes it as a prank.

"She had been a diligent worker at the care home. She realises she has thrown all this away now by her behaviour."

He added that Mirza, who is now unemployed, has had a difficult past and is unlikely to ever work in the care sector again.

Recorder Hilton sentenced Mirza to a 12-month community order which includes 140 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation activities.

He told her her victim was a very vulnerable man.

He said: "You and other people, because you weren't acting on your own in this, took advantage of him.

"A vulnerable person was humiliated by your actions — a vulnerable person who wasn't in a position to complain about it because he can't speak or stop it from happening because of his restricted mobility.

"This isn't just humiliation, it is cruelty."

A spokesman for Lifeways said: “We are appalled that someone in a caring role should behave in such a manner.

"As soon as this was raised with our senior managers we acted and the person in question was dismissed.

"We have high standards and expect everyone who works for Lifeways to behave in a professional manner, putting the care of the individuals we support at the heart of everything we do.”