Court hears dementia patients ‘were abused’

Dementia sufferers were mocked, humiliated, and physically abused at a care home run by a mother and daughter who promised them specialist treatment, a jury was told.

Tuesday, 18th November 2014, 9:03 am
Margaret Koralewski, 65 and daughter Siobhan, 28, who are accused of neglect and ill treatment at a residential home, arrive at Teesside Crown Court 17 November 2014. Picture Ceri Oakes/Ross Parry

Daughter Siobahn Koralewski decided to “take revenge” on Kenneth Pinkney for lashing out at her mother 67-year-old mother Maragret Koralewski when he became agitated.

She paraded in front of the 88-year-old dementia sufferer wearing only a vest and taunting “Do you like that you dirty old man?” before hurting him until he was screaming in pain, it was claimed.

Dementia and Downs Syndrome sufferer Elizabeth Hall, 59, had all her unfinished drinks kept to the end of the day and was then made to drink them all, Teesside Crown Court was told.

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When Siobahn marched her off to the toilet, clutching her collar, she stuffed toilet paper in the screaming woman’s mouth to make her be quiet, prosecutors claimed.

Putting her hands over Elizabeth’s mouth was something else Siobahn did to stop her victim screaming, it was alleged.

When Elizabeth refused to eat, the carer grabbed her trousers and pulled them really hard to drag her up the stairs to her room, said Prosecutor Nicholas Askins.

He continued: “This was a ‘method’ of making Elizabeth Hall go up the stairs that Siobahn had used numerous times before.

“It always caused her to scream and shout, as it did on this occasion. Halfway up the stairs, Elizabeth refused to walk any further.

“So Siobahn pulled her upstairs by the waist. At the top of the stairs, Elizabeth fell to the floor and curled into a ball.

“Siobahn then pushed her along the floor hard with her foot to her bedroom door.”

Mrs Koralewski had acquired the home, called Roundstones, in Filey, North Yorkshire, with her husband Raymond in 2004. Siobahn worked there as a senior carer and deputy manager.

Mr Askins continued: “The home held itself out as having particular expertise in the care of those with dementia.

“Each of the four victims lacked capacity – they were unable to make decisions for themselves about their own care. The prosecution case is the defendants deliberately ill-treated them.

“They were singled out because of their difficulties, the defendants believing, with good reason, that they would be unable to do anything about the ill-treatment.”

Mr Askins said the carer had “disliked” Elizabeth but had targetted Mr Pinkney after he kicked her mother, causing her to fall and fracture he shoulder, while agitated due to his dementia.

“The prosecution case is that Siobahn decided to take revenge for the injury caused to her mother.”

It began the next morning when the pensioner was sitting in the dining room and started to get out of his chair, the court heard.

Siobahn told him to stay where he was and started to shout in his ear about what he had done to her mother, the jury was told.

After pacing up and down in front of him she removed her vest and subjected him to the sex taunts before slapping him across the face four times as he held up his arms to try and protect himself, it was claimed.

The elderly man grabbed her leg and she pulled him out of his chair so he fell in his back, it was claimed.

As he tried to get up from the floor the young woman sat astride him and bounced on his stomach and bit one of his legs causing him to cry out in pain, Mr Askins continued.

The daughter then pushed his legs towards his chest and kept him pinned to the floor while he shouted and screamed - until the phone rang and she went to answer it, the jury heard.

Mr Askins said the attack was witnessed her brother Jeremy Koralewski, the house cook, “who was appalled at his sister’s behaviour”.

But it was alleged Maragret Koralewski failed to intervene and even told a colleague: “You don’t feel sorry for him do you?’”

The court heard the daughter took Mr Pinkney to Cross Lane Psychiatric Hospital in Scarborough later that day in July 2012. Because no wheelchair was available she hauled the elderly man out of his chair in reception and held him under the arms while using her knees to force him to walk, it was alleged

Mr Askins added: “At one point his feet were actually off the floor. He was compelled to walk this way for 25 to 30 paces‎ from the reception to the admissions area.

“Once there, she put him roughly in another chair before saying aggressively: ‘You were walking fine this afternoon when you were chasing all the staff around the dining room.’”

The court heard the third victim was dementia sufferer Joan Normington, aged 92, who Siobahn was seen to “frogmarch” to her room on a number of occasions.

Once, Siobahn pulled Joan out of her chair by the wrist and dragged her to her room. Maragret Koralewski also allegedly treated the pensioner in a similar way, after marching into the room saying: “No one speaks to me like that.”

Stroke victim Harold Waller, 91, another dementia sufferer, needed a zimmer frame to walk “but rather than patiently walking slowly with him Siobahn would hold the back of his trousers and push him where she wished him to go,” Mr Askins told the jury.

Mr Waller’s son Peter was visiting his father when she heard Maragret Koralewski shouting at his father while he was using the toilet with the door wide open.

She yelled “I’ll have to clean that up now” before saying to Peter: “Do you know he’s made a mess of himself three times, including his bed?’”

In November 2012, police went to the Roundstones and arrested both mother and daughter - who each deny four offences of ill-treatment or neglect of people who lack mental capacity.

The trial continues.

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