Care home worker ‘abused patients’, court heard

Ridgeway House, Wingate
Ridgeway House, Wingate

A CARE home worker has gone on trial accused of a catalogue of physical and verbal abuse against mentally ill and disabled residents in her care.

Vikki Unsworth allegedly told a resident with Down’s Syndrome she “needed shooting at birth”.

She is also accused of saying the same resident, who is incontinent, “smelled like Seaham harbour”.

Unsworth, 39, is also alleged to have sworn at other vulnerable residents at Ridgeway House Care Home, in Station Town, near Wingate, calling them “fat”, “ugly”, and “smelly.”

Teesside Crown Court also heard claims that Unsworth poured yoghurt from a height straight into the mouth of a Down’s Syndrome sufferer which went all down her face and neck.

Prosecuting, Anne Richardson added Unsworth pulled the ears of a man with autism, causing him to shout out in pain, before calling him “Mr Potato Head.”

She is also alleged to have taught another resident with Down’s Syndrome to say offensive words.

And Unsworth said a man with severe learning difficulties, who is incontinent, “wanted hosing down,” said Miss Richardson.

When challenged about the allegations, she is said to have laughed them off.

Unsworth was suspended from the care home, which was run by Southern Cross at the time of the allegations, in March 2010 after a co-worker complained.

She told police she treated the residents “with care and respect”.

She accepted using bad language at the home, but claimed other staff also did and denied ever doing it in front of residents.

She denied all of the abuse claims.

Outlining the prosecution case, Miss Richardson said: “The Crown say this points to so much more than someone who is a crass, somewhat inept, foul-mouthed carer.

“The evidence points to the sad but inescapable fact that here was a lady who was employed to look after vulnerable people who couldn’t look after themselves, who had been put in a home such as Ridgeway by those who love them to be cared for by people like Vikki Unsworth.

“She abused that position and ill-treated these residents within her care, and in doing so is guilty of these offences.”

Unsworth, of Cummings Square, Wingate, denies six counts of ill treatment or neglect and two charges of ill treatment of a mentally disorientated patient between March 2006 and January 2009.

The trial continues.