Pressure mounts for care home apology

Chris Haywood, whose father was abused by carers at Hillcroft Nursing Home Slyne with Hest.
Chris Haywood, whose father was abused by carers at Hillcroft Nursing Home Slyne with Hest.

A son whose frail father was abused by cruel care home workers has demanded an apology from its directors.

Chris Haywood, 37, whose father Ken was abused at Hillcroft Nursing Home, Slyne, said: “These people, in such a small community, are diminishing their reputation as a business by not saying sorry and being big enough to put their hand up and say ‘we made a mistake’. Do the directors think they’re bigger than anyone else?

“All the families feel very aggrieved that we haven’t had that apology from Hillcroft’s owners – it saddens me that nobody has stepped up to the plate and done that.”

Hillcroft’s managing director John Ayrton has so far declined an interview.

Widespread calls have been made from families and Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris for an apology after three former workers, employed as carers, were jailed for the abuse of eight elderly patients with dementia in what a judge described as “gratuitous sport”.

Mr Haywood’s father, Ken, had his foot stamped on so hard his toe nail broke.

For this, and two other charges, 27-year-old Katie Cairns, of Riverview Court, Morecambe, was sent to prison for five months.

Other bruises were found on his hands and head during a catalogue of abuse between May 2010 and September 2011, which saw bean bags pelted at the vulnerable residents and one nearly tipped out of a wheelchair.

At Preston Crown Court, Carol Moore, 54, of Ripon Avenue, Lancaster, was jailed for four months for hitting a man who had complained about a lack of activities at the home.

And Darren Smith, 35 of Howgill Avenue, Lancaster – the only defendant to plead guilty – was jailed for eight months for abusing eight residents.

Gemma Pearson, 28, of Hill Street, Carnforth, avoided jail and was given a 12-month community order and 40 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard residents were mocked, bullied and tormented when the workers were “bored” and because they would have no memory of the abuse.

They were all convicted after whistleblowers at the home, including a cleaner and a receptionist, contacted social services. Mr Haywood said he wanted to meet them in person to say thank you. His father died in January 2012, aged 72, four months before the abuse came to light and arrests and charges followed.

The father-of-two, a customer advisor in Carnforth, has met with Mr Morris to discuss how the new Care Bill could be reformed so the owner of a care home can be jailed along with those who perpetrate ill-treatment.