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Community work for Plymouth care assistant guilty of ill-treatment of elderly patients

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: December 14, 2013

By Stuart Abel

Comments (6)

A CARE assistant who roughly-handled and swore at two elderly dementia patients has been ordered to do unpaid work.

Sarah Pilkington, aged 34, was found guilty of ill-treating two 88-year-old men by a jury at Plymouth Crown Court.

She was convicted of swiping the hands of one man and repeatedly calling him an offensive name.

A jury decided that during the same shift she wrenched the arm of the second 88-year-old man and threatened to “deck him”.

She was acquitted of two other similar offences from earlier that same year.

Her barrister told the court she would not be able to work in care again.

She was at first suspended and then resigned from Hartley Park Care Home, where the offences took place.

Judge Paul Darlow said the offences were at the lower end of the spectrum covered by the charge.

He ordered her to do 200 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order and pay £500 towards prosecution costs.

The judge said: “The unpaid work will allow you to put something back into the community which you have taken out.”

Pilkington, of Stoke Road, Stonehouse, had denied four counts of ill-treating people lacking mental capacity under her care.

A jury found her guilty after five hours of deliberations of two counts during the same night shift starting on Boxing Day last year. She was acquitted on the other two counts dating from earlier in the year.

Those incidents were not reported to home managers at the time.

The jury was unusually told of a string of previous convictions, including numerous convictions for dishonesty. She also was convicted of making a false representation to claim benefit and handling stolen goods.

The convictions were outlined in court after Pilkington accused three other members of staff of lying and making up accusations.

Pilkington is now working as a cleaner in a social club.

Judge Darlow told the court: “Nothing I have heard in this case reflects badly on the home itself.”

Kelly Scrivener, for Pilkington, said the mother-of-one had lost what she regarded as a career in care.

Nicola Kelly, manager of Hartley Park Care Home, said after the case: “Our residents’ safety and well-being will always be our priority.

“We commend the staff who came forward to report the incidents of ill-treatment, both for their loyalty to the residents and for their courage when giving evidence in court.

“Management responded immediately and appropriately when the allegation against Sarah Pilkington was made and will continue to follow local safeguarding recruitment and reporting procedures for the protection of our residents.”

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  • onmyhighhorse  |  December 15 2013, 1:26PM

    I'm sure references were checked, but if she's not been found to do this before, how can anyone predict it happening. It shouldn't have happened, but some people let power over the vulnerable go to their head, but at least her colleagues spoke up and she's now being punished for it... Not harshly enough in my opinion though!

    Rate   5
  • cashlift  |  December 14 2013, 1:20PM

    A nasty piece of work , a proven bully , she had a fair trial and was found GUILTY her so called friends on F/B take note GUILTY

    Rate   13
  • gem407  |  December 14 2013, 1:01PM

    This doesn't surprise me, she was a nasty bully through secondary school so obviously hasn't changed.

    Rate   12
  • jaynenothappy  |  December 14 2013, 10:59AM


    Rate   13
  • jaynenothappy  |  December 14 2013, 10:59AM

    one word,,,*****

    Rate   6
  • NICKERS  |  December 14 2013, 8:49AM

    No doubt if the owners of the home had checked this persons references they would probably never employed her. Because care work is so badly paid a lot of care homes cannot afford to be too choosey. As one of my former German bosses you to say "if you pay peanuts you get monkeys" and in this instance it is true. This certainly does not apply to the majority only the minority.

    Rate   8