Carers convicted for neglecting patient in their care

Danny Dias. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
Danny Dias. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

Two carers filmed and laughed at a woman they were employed to look after as she crawled on the floor after one of them had tied her feet together with a phone cable, a court has heard.

Danny Dias, 57, of Lindfield Copse, Thakeham, admitted ill-treating the woman by using a cable to bind her feet and another carer Wyn Ellis, also 57, laughed as he filmed her falling on the floor unable to stand as she struggled to free herself.

Wyn Ellis. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

Wyn Ellis. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

On April 26 last year, Dias used a modem cable to tie her feet together and filmed her on his phone as she crawled on the floor shouting: “I hate it, I hate you, I hate the man.”

He was reported to police after sharing the 31-second video with disgusted colleagues.

Ellis, of St Marys Close, Littlehampton, can be heard laughing as Dias encouraged the woman to crawl towards him, the court was told.

She was convicted of neglect following a day long trial.

The victim, who lacks the mental capacity to give evidence, was described to the court as having learning difficulties and bipolar disorder.

Horsham Magistrates heard she was distressed and humiliated in the video which was reported to police after Dias shared it with other members of staff.

District Judge Christopher James found Ellis guilty of one charge of neglect and not guilty of one charge of ill treatment.

The district judge said the video made for uncomfortable viewing and it was clear there had been ill treatment which was already admitted by Dias: “The behaviour was extremely bizarre.

“There is distress when the complainant falls to the floor.”

The woman tried desperately to free herself, the judge said.

“And it is clear no one goes to assist her.

“The behaviour was wholly wrong.”

It was up to Ellis to free the woman and she did not, the judge said.

“She knew it was her role to act.

“It was clear she needed to act and I am sure she knew.

“She was laughing and she did not act and knew what she was doing.

“She wilfully neglected her and did not act.”

Chris Bull for the CPS said it was ‘manifestly obvious’ the 31 second video showed ill treatment and neglect.

“It was inappropriate, abusive and humiliating,” he told the court.

“The purpose of that video was just that, to humiliate.

“That distress was obvious to anybody who viewed that video and must have been obvious to anybody who was in that room at the time.”

Kay Hollywood, Operations Director for Arundel Care Services and Arundel Domiciliary Care Services Ltd said: “On 18 May 2017 we at Arundel Domiciliary Care Services were made aware of an incident that had occurred on 26 April 2017 involving one of our service users and two of our employees.

“We immediately notified the safeguarding team at West Sussex County Council and then the police and the Care Quality Commission.

“Since then we have continued to liaise closely and co-operate with these bodies and will continue to do so.

“We have also continued to liaise with the family of the service user concerned.

“The employees concerned have since been dismissed from our employment.

“Arundel Care Services is a family run business and we take great pride in the kind and professional way in which we care for our service users and the other people to whom we provide care and assistance.

“As such we are deeply sorry for the events of 26 April 2017.

“We conducted a full review of the incident and all of our systems and processes to ensure as far as we possibly can that this type of isolated incident does not occur again.”

Both Dias and Ellis will be sentenced on March 20 at Worthing Magistrates’ Court.

Detective Constable Erica Lawrie said: “This was appalling treatment of a very vulnerable woman by two of the very people employed to care for her. Fortunately another staff member brought this gross breach of trust to the attention of the home managers, who contacted us.

“Fortunately the woman did not sustain any physical injury but her distress was clear and the longer-term impact on her can only be imagined.”

Area Hate Crime Coordinator Gareth Morgan, from the Crown Prosection Service, said: “The CPS have treated this as a disability hate crime, as we believe this crime was motivated by hostility based on the victim’s disability.

“Tackling hate crime, and particularly disability hate crime, which has low reporting levels, is a key priority for us in the South East.”