Sheffield care home staff ‘abused patients’

Lime Trees care home, Devon Road, Sheffield.
Lime Trees care home, Devon Road, Sheffield.

Elderly dementia patients at a Sheffield care home were subjected to ‘systematic bullying’ of slapping, teasing, pushing, taunting, ridiculing - and being barked at like a dog, a court heard.

Senior carer Ann Culley, and care assistant Carol Grant, both aged 51, are accused of neglecting and abusing patients at the former Lime Trees Nursing Home in Devon Road, Pitsmoor.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the women, who were friends, targeted residents to whom they took a dislike - verbally abusing them, telling them to shut up, slamming doors to scare them, and hiding their belongings.

Tina Dempster, prosecuting, said the allegations came to light after an internal investigation was launched into the standard of care at the home, which later closed.

Miss Dempster said: “The behaviour of these two staff went beyond merely inappropriate.

“The defendants behaved in a way that went clearly beyond the pale for some of the other workers, and those others were to describe their behaviour in subsequent investigations as that which amounted to systematic bullying, targeting individual residents they had taken a particular dislike to, slapping, pushing and dispensing medication in an unkind and uncaring way.”

Miss Dempster said the pair failed to take the residents to the toilet, which resulted in them soiling themselves, and gave some their medication early so they could put them to bed.

They deliberately locked one patient with dementia out of her room.

Culley, of Longley Close, Norwood, denies two offences of ill treatment and neglect, while Grant, of Calder Way, Firth Park, denies three.

Miss Dempster said the allegations faced by Grant included an attack on an elderly female dementia patient who had an obsession with food.

She said on one occasion the pensioner stole food from a fellow resident’s plate and Grant returned the food then ‘struck her around the back of her head’.

“It made a cracking sound and she called her a vulture,” Miss Dempster said.

“The prosecution say Carol Grant was a trained carer and her behaviour amounted to ill treatment.”

Grant and Culley are both accused of ‘bullying and isolating’ two patients they disliked.

Miss Dempster said the pair hid a cup belonging to a male patient with dementia who was particularly attached to his cup and would become distressed if he couldn’t find it.

“They would both shout at him, telling him he had to leave his cup, and they would hide his cup, knowing it would distress him - this was particularly spiteful. It was unnecessary and it was cruel,” she added.

The women are also accused of targeting another female dementia patient who was ‘obsessed with meal times’ and wanted to get back to her room afterwards.

Miss Dempster said they manhandled her and refused to let her go to the toilet - and when she soiled herself they called her a ‘dirty cow’.

It is also alleged they locked her out of her bedroom, causing her distress.

The trial continues.