Colchester: Carers jailed over abuse
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The parents of a woman abused by two care workers have thanked Essex Police after the pair were sentenced but say their daughter has been left traumatised.
The victim has a condition call Angelman Syndrome, a genetic condition affecting the nervous system and causes severe physical and learning disabilities.
She is 43 but has the mental capacity of someone under the age of five and has very limited verbal communication.
She lived at a care facility in Colchester with her sister who has the same condition.
Her family had become concerned about her care after finding her with a bruise to her head during a visit on 26 January last year.
The care facility were unable to explain how she had got the injury and, after finding new bruises on her during subsequent visits, her family decided to install a hidden camera in her living room.
It was put in place on 16 February.
The camera caught the victim’s carers – 61 year-old Ann-Marie Young, of Camulodunum Way, Colchester, and Catherine Haining, 64, of Bolsin Drive, Colchester – striking her with various items including a tv remote and a roll of tin foil as well as slapping, kicking, and hitting her and pulling her hair.
They were also seen calling her names.
The family reported what they had seen to us and Haining and Young were arrested.
They were both charged with being a care worker ill-treating or willfully neglecting an individual and pleaded guilty at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on 23 July.
At Ipswich Crown Court today (Thursday 2 September) they were each sentenced to eight months in prison.
In a statement the victim’s parents said:
“We as a family are totally devastated by what has happened whilst in the trusted care of these individuals.
“We had our suspicions and on every occasion we visited them - there were unexplained bruises, broken furniture, with both girls reluctant to return home whenever we took them out. No one listened.
“They blamed all of the many events on our daughter and her behaviour.
“Nobody knows our daughters better than we do and we knew something wasn’t right. Ultimately we had to take matters into our own hands.
“By installing a discreet camera we were able to witness the abuse for ourselves and what we saw was truly heart breaking.
“Within twenty minutes of the camera being in operation the abuse had begun and this continued for three days.
“We as a family took turns in watching and documenting the terrible ordeal.
“When we witnessed our daughter being cornered and hurt by these so called “carers”, we instantly called the police.
“The police acted immediately and they have been extremely good to us from start to finish. We want to personally thank DC Hannah Richardson for keeping us informed throughout – she has been a great support to our family.
“Our daughter is traumatised and suffering from PTSD. Understandably she has lost all trust in carers.
“Furthermore, with the recent lockdowns we have been unable to visit the girls at their new care homes.
“With both girls being separated after 13 years of being together, it has been an increasingly traumatic and upsetting time for the two girls and also us as a family.”
Investigating officer Detective Constable Hannah Richardson said:
“As the officer in charge of this investigation this has been one of the most emotionally impactive investigations that I have worked on in my 11 years of service.
“The footage highlighted the very obvious vulnerabilities of the victim and her inability to communicate what harm she was suffering.
“Ann-Marie Young and Catherine Haining were employed as carers and yet displayed no care or empathy towards the victim and found their behaviour and the victim’s response to their behaviour funny even when she was subjected to physical violence.
“Knowing how hard I found the footage to watch I can only just begin to imagine how traumatic it must have been for the family, who were witnessing the live footage via their mobile phones but not being able to get to the victim to protect her.
“I hope that the guilty pleas and subsequent sentencing of these two individuals brings the family some closure knowing that they did the very best for the victim and secured justice for her.”