Horsham carer jailed for abusing dementia patients in London care home

Court news
Court news

A carer from Horsham who attacked four elderly dementia patients for soiling themselves wept in court as she was jailed for 16 weeks.

Mary Cahiles, 46, of Bishopric Court, assaulted residents at the Ashcourt Care Centre in Camden, north London, between May and June last year.

Cahiles, a carer at the Forest Healthcare run home, denied striking her patients but was convicted after a trial at Highbury Magistrates’ Court last month.

Her conviction on four counts of common assault comes only two years after the same home was investigated for elder abuse when staff were secretly filmed slapping, manhandling and jeering at residents.

Cahiles wrestled with and slapped Michael McHugh when he became agitated as she tried to change his pyjamas and bedding in full view of another carer.

A few weeks later she slapped Sydney Jackdeo’s hand when he struggled as she was changing his incontinence pad.

She struck Sean McDonagh to the head with her open palm for soiling himself, and struck confused Violet Clarke to the arm for shouting.

Cahiles lost her temper with Mrs Clarke for shouting ‘I’m your manager and I will sack you’, leaving her disorientated and anxious after the blow.

Oliver Newman, for Cahiles, said: “She’s been working five night shifts in a row, so it’s possible there was a degree of tiredness and fatigue building up.

“Ms Cahiles became a qualified nurse in the Philippines, she’d worked in this care home for seven years.

“As a result of this conviction her entire career is gone, I know it sounds melodramatic but it’s true – she’s effectively been unemployed for a number of months.”

He continued: “She’s going to find life very difficult from now on, her father is 81, her mother is 79, she has two children aged 21 and 16 who are also supported by her wages.

“That money is also distributed around her extended family to a certain extent – the consequences of this conviction are very serious without a sentence even being passed.”

Jailing Cahiles for 16 weeks, Judge Gillian Allison said: “As far as this matter is concerned you get no credit for a plea of guilty – the offences are so serious that only a prison sentence is justified.

“I’ve reached the conclusion that because you were a carer, trust was placed in you to deal with these elderly and vulnerable patients, many of whom were suffering from dementia, with patience and respect.

“You breached that trust by assaulting them when you were supposed to be caring for them, the court found that you used force.

“The offences are so serious that I cannot justify suspending this sentence.”

Cahiles, who appeared in the dock in a pink sweatshirt and a blue overcoat, was so distraught as her sentence was read out it was a few moments before she was able to stand to be lead to the cells.

Two years ago, the care home became the subject of a Panorama documentary titled ‘Elderly Care’ following a Care Quality Commission inquiry.

As a result of the investigation, four carers were sacked.

Another Ashcourt carer, Jonathan Aquino, 30, was jailed for 18 months in April 2012 for abusing a stroke victim.

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