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Care home worker jailed for abuse

A member of staff caught abusing vulnerable residents at a care home by an undercover journalist has been jailed for two years.

Wayne Rogers, 32, was condemned by a judge at Bristol Crown Court for dishing out abuse to disabled patients at the Winterbourne View private hospital, at Hambrook, South Gloucestershire.

Rogers was among 11 staff - nine support workers and two nurses - caught in a BBC Panorama sting by a reporter with a hidden camera posing as a carer.

The shocking footage showed residents being slapped, soaked in water, trapped under chairs, taunted, sworn at and having their hair pulled and eyes poked.

On one shocking occasion, three support workers forcibly held down a resident while a nurse forced paracetamol into her mouth.

Ten colleagues are being sentenced at the same court.

Whistleblower Terry Bryan, a former nurse at the home, went to the BBC with his concerns after his complaints to owner Castlebeck and care watchdogs were ignored.

Journalist Joseph Carey recorded shocking footage during a five-week investigation in February and March last year and the programme was shown the following June.

A serious case review published in August criticised Darlington-based Castlebeck Ltd, which owned the hospital, for putting profits before humanity.

The 26-bed hospital opened in 2006 and by 2010 had a turnover of 3.7 million. The average weekly fee for a patient was 3,500.

Prosecutor Kerry Barker said care watchdogs failed to act on repeated warnings of "inhumane, cruel and hate-fuelled treatment" of patients.

"The so-called restraint techniques were used to inflict pain, humiliate patients and bully them into compliance with the demands of their carers," Mr Barker said.

"It is the Crown's case that generally the offences were motivated by hostility towards the victims based on their disabilities.

"The offenders were operating in groups; the offences involved an abuse of power; an abuse of trust; the victims were particularly vulnerable and on occasion the ill-treatment of a patient was sustained, with the consequences of serious psychological effects."

Mr Barker told the court that the five residents, Simone Blake, Simon Tovey, Louise Bissett, Louisa Deville and Lorraine Guildford, suffered greatly at the hands of the defendants.

Among the hours of graphic footage played to the court during the sentencing hearing was support worker Wayne Rogers telling Miss Blake: "Do you want me to get a cheese grater and grate your face off?

"Do you want me to turn you into a giant pepperoni?"

He also slapped Mr Tovey across the cheek and told him: "Do you want a scrap? Do you want a fight? Go on and I will bite your bloody face off."

Colleague Alison Dove said Miss Blake "loved pain" and then told her: "Simone, come here and I'll punch your face."

Dove also threatened Miss Bissett when she broke a window in the lounge with a chair.

She snarled at her: "Listen, in future I'm going to let you sit on the f****** floor, cos you don't deserve a chair."

On another occasion, Dove, Graham Doyle and Holly Draper restrained Miss Blake as Sookalingum Appoo forced paracetamol into her mouth.

Later during the same shocking incident Doyle put on a mock-German accent and, mimicking a Nazi guard, slapped her over the head with his gloves shouting: "Nein, nein, nein, nein."

Barristers representing the 11 defendants apologised on behalf of their clients but blamed the culture of Castlebeck - calling it a "disease", a "cancer" and a "fog" that had engulfed Winterbourne View.

The former staff admitted 38 charges of either neglect or ill-treatment of people with severe learning difficulties. They are:

:: Wayne Rogers, 32, of Purton Close, Bristol, pleaded guilty to nine charges of ill-treating Ms Deville, Mr Tovey and Miss Blake. He denied a charge of ill-treating Miss Bisset, which was accepted by the prosecution and he did not face trial. He was jailed for two years.

:: Alison Dove, 25, of Chipperfield Drive, Bristol, pleaded guilty to seven charges of ill-treating Miss Guilford, Miss Bisset and Miss Blake. She pleaded not guilty to ill-treating Mr Tovey, which was accepted by the prosecution and she did not face trial. She was jailed for 20 months.

:: Graham Doyle, 26, of Brackendene, Bradley Stoke, Bristol, pleaded guilty to seven charges of ill-treating Miss Blake. He denied charges of wilfully neglecting Miss Guilford and ill-treating Mr Tovey. The prosecution accepted the pleas and he did not face trial. He was also jailed for 20 months.

:: Jason Gardiner, 43, of Mellent Avenue, Bristol, admitted two charges of ill-treating Ms Deville and Mr Tovey. His four-month jail term was suspended for two years. Gardiner was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

:: Michael Ezenagu, 29, of Malabar Court, India Way, Shepherds Bush, west London, pleaded guilty to two counts of ill-treating Miss Blake. He denied two further of ill-treating the same patient and a third similar charge against Mr Tovey. The prosecution accepted the pleas and he did not face trial. His six-month jail term was suspended for two years. Ezenagu was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

:: Danny Brake, 27, of Beechen Drive, Fishponds, Bristol, also pleaded guilty to two charges of ill-treating Miss Blake and Mr Tovey. His four-month jail term was suspended for two years. Brake was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

:: Charlotte Cotterell, 22, of Melrose Avenue, Yate, Bristol, pleaded guilty to one charge of ill-treating Miss Blake. She denied a second charge against the same victim, which was accepted by the prosecution and she did not face trial. Her four-month jail term was suspended for two years. Cotterell was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and complete 12 months supervision.

:: Holly Draper, 24, The Old Orchard, Mangotsfield, Bristol, pleaded guilty to two charges of ill-treating Miss Blake. She was jailed for 12 months.

:: Neil Ferguson, 28, of Emersons Green, Bristol, pleaded guilty to one count of ill-treating Miss Blake. He denied a second charge of ill-treating the same patient, which the prosecution accepted and he did not face trial. His six-month jail term was suspended for two years. Ferguson was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

:: Sookalingum Appoo, 59, of Dial Lane, Bristol, admitted three charges of wilfully neglecting Miss Blake. He was jailed for six months.

:: Kelvin Fore, 33, of Ellesmere Walk, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to one charge of wilfully neglecting Miss Blake but denied a second allegation against the same person, which was accepted by the prosecution and he did not face trial. He was also jailed for six months.

The court was packed with members of the victims' families and journalists to see Judge Neil Ford QC, The Recorder of Bristol, pass sentence on the 11.

The judge condemned Castlebeck Ltd for the way Winterbourne View was run.

"It is common ground in this case that the hospital was run with a view to profit and with a scandalous lack of regard to the interests of its residents and staff," Judge Ford said.

"Many of the residents were extremely difficult to manage and in the absence of highly skilled carers were subjected to a miserable existence in which they were inappropriately restrained and punished.

"A culture of ill-treatment developed and as is often the case, cruelty bred cruelty. This culture corrupted and debased, to varying degrees, these defendants, all of whom are of previous good character.

"Complaints by residents were swept under the carpet and the concerns of family members ignored.

"There was no proper consideration of the individual needs of the residents and no attempt to provide them with the caring, safe and stimulating environment in which they could thrive.

"The hospital's purported aim of assisting the residents so that they might return to homes in the community was cynically disregarded."

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