Former care home owner stands trial

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THE FORMER manager of a Scarborough care home “pressurised” staff into lying about abuse against its elderly residents, a court heard.

Terence Bennett, of Duncombe Close, appeared yesterday charged with perverting the course of justice after allegedly attempting to make carers at the Elsinor residential home change statements regarding incidents involving former employee Tina Gillespie in July last year.

Gillespie, 31, was jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to common assault and ill-treatment charges at the home in Esplanade Gardens.

Teesside Crown Court was told 60- year-old Bennett – who was dismissed from his post early last year – had typed up reports of the incidents which he then handed to staff to authorise as their version of events.

Bennett denies the charges.

However, the court was told certain staff members became upset at the request and heard from carer Trevor Ramsey. He told the court after returning from break on his shift he discovered Gillespie had been in a fight with a resident.

He said: “She told me she had a fight which I found peculiar. Later on I saw the man in the lounge and saw that there was bruising and a fingernail mark on his chest.”

Mr Ramsey told the court he became frustrated when he was asked to sign the statement which Bennett had typed up.

He said: “There was a bit that said I had seen the man be aggressive to her but I would not sign it because I had not seen him like that as I was on a break.

“He then told me that all he wanted was a basic statement saying how I had seen the resident being aggressive because Social Services had asked for a written statement. I felt like I was being pressurised into lying about what I had seen.”

The court was told an anonymous phone call was made to Social Services about the care at the Elsinor, resulting in Bennett – who owned the home until 2005 – being asked to speak to representatives of social services and the police, wherein he became angry and aggressive, throwing the typed statements on a table.

The court also heard from senior carer Louise Haycock who referred to another incident involving Gillespie – this time an elderly gentleman who was pushed back into a chair with too great a force, causing him to hit his head.

She said she had been alerted to the matter by fellow staff members and reported it to Bennett immediately who told her he would deal with it. However the incident was only brought up again following a complaint against the home a month later when Bennett denied any recollection of the original conversation.

The home has new managers.

The trial continues.