A care home worker caught on film abusing an elderly woman and throwing her around “like a rag doll” has been jailed.
Magistrates were disgusted by footage showing Alainie McLatchie, 23, man-handling a resident at Red Oak Care Home, in South Shore.
She was caught out when concerned relatives of the victim hid a covert camera in a gift box in her room after becoming suspicious about cuts and bruises on the 89-year-old’s body.
Bosses at the care home, on St Annes Road, today said they were “shocked and appalled” by the crime and apologised to the victim after McLatchie, of Cavendish Road, Bispham, was jailed for 12 weeks.
She pleaded guilty to ill treatment and neglect of her victim earlier this month.
Speaking after yesterday’s hearing at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, the victim’s daughter, said: “That is the sentence we hoped for. She used my mother like a rag doll when she was old and frail.”
McLatchie showed no compassion, no humanity and gave a vulnerable lady no reassurance as she dragged her from the floor.Adrian Hollamby
The court heard McLatchie pushed the victim into a chair, threw her on to a bed and kicked out at her back in November 2013.
Presiding magistrate David Cartain told the defendant: “Your actions in this were deplorable. I never want to see a film like that again. Families put relatives in care homes to be cared for not to be mistreated.”
Magistrates heard the defendant ignored her victim as she begged: “Please help me. Please help me.”
Adrian Hollamby, prosecuting, said the family were horrified by what they saw on the secret video recordings.
He added: “McLatchie showed no compassion, no humanity and gave a vulnerable lady no reassurance as she dragged her from the floor.”
After studying the footage relatives called police, who arrested McLatchie.
Gerry Coyle, defending, said his client had been working 60-hour weeks for £550 a month at the time of the incident – a claim the home vehemently denies.
The defence mistakenly said McLatchie was 19 when she committed the crime in November 2013. She was 21.
Mr Coyle told the court: “On the night of these incidents she was 19 and the only other person left with her was 18. They were looking after 17 residents in all. She has had to wait almost two years with this lurking over her for the case to start.
“My client made a full and frank confession from the outset. There is an old adage that if you pay peanuts – £550 a month – you get what you deserve.”
Sentencing, Mr Cartain added: “You had worked at this home for three years and should have got some experience in that time. We believe that the owners of the home are culpable to some extent.”
In a statement issued after the court hearing, Red Oak Care Home rejected the criticism and disputed several claims made by the defence.
A spokesman said: “The Red Oak Care Home would like to express their sincere apologies to the lady concerned.
“At the time of the offence in November 2013, Alainie Mclatchie was a mature 21-year-old – not 19 as reported – who had worked for the home for almost five years.
“She was a trusted member of staff by residents, families and colleagues.”
The home said McLatchie was immediately suspended once the allegations were brought to its attention.
The statement continued: “(She) was receiving the national minimum wage and on an average working week worked no more than 36 hours, not 60 as reported.
“The police have stated that this was an isolated incident concerning one resident.
“We were shocked and appalled by Alainie Mclatchie’s actions and do not condone her actions in any way.
“We have been working closely with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Blackpool Council and have implemented more procedures within the home to reduce the risk of this ever happening again.”
The home was rated “good” in all five categories in its most recent inspection by the CQC.