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Nurse at Sutton-in-Craven care home is sentenced for assault
7:40pm Thursday 5th December 2013 in News
A care home nurse who slapped a dementia sufferer with a soiled incontinence pad has been given a community sentence.
Skipton magistrates told Lydia Onwen she had abused a position of trust when she assaulted the elderly vulnerable man at the Royd Hill home, Sutton-in-Craven, robbing him of his dignity.
They told Onwen, 54, that a prison sentence had been considered, but only her 30 years unblemished record and the fact they believed it had been an impulsive act had saved her.
Instead, she was handed a 12-month order with supervision and ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work.
The court heard on Friday she was also likely to be removed from the national nursing register following a decision by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Onwen, who shook her head when magistrates announced their decision, continued to deny the assault, despite being found guilty at a trial last month.
She had been working a night shift at the nursing home on June 27 when she had slapped the male resident on his arms and legs before hitting him with the pad, the court heard.
Onwen was witnessed by a care assistant who had since left the home to go to university.
The court was told she hit the man with such force that his head moved to one side. He later told the care assistant that Onwen had just “clobbered” him for no reason.
She had been suspended on full pay since the incident, but following the trial she had lost her job and was now relying solely on her husband’s wage.
In mitigation, Nigel Jamieson said Onwen, who had qualified as a nurse in South Africa, where she was born, had worked in nursing homes in the UK for 11 years.
He said she had been suspended from the nursing register and if permanently removed would be unable to work in nursing again.
She had no previous convictions and a manager at the nursing home had given evidence on her behalf, saying that apart from an abrupt manner, she had been a willing worker.
“This was out of character and she has lost almost everything as a result of this conviction,” said Mr Jamieson.
But magistrates said the elderly man, who also suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, had been a vulnerable victim.
“You were in a position of trust and there was gratuitous degradation of the victim. To be hit in the face with what can only be described as a urine-soaked incontinence pad would be distressing for anyone and even more so for an elderly dementia sufferer.”
Onwen, of Fourth Avenue, Bradford, was also ordered to pay costs of £640 and a victims surcharge of £60, at a rate of £20 per week. She will also have to pay compensation of £100 to the man for the distress caused.