Wednesday 17 October 2018
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Care home owner guilty of force-feeding residents

An owner of a care home has been found guilty of force-feeding elderly residents and failing to seek immediate help for a scalded woman aged 99.

Indranee Pumbien, who ran the Briarwood Rest Home, Preston, with her husband, was convicted of ill-treating the woman and a man, 80, between 2013 and 2014.

Meghadeven Pumbien, 64, and employee Niphawan Berry were also convicted of failing to get urgent medical care for the woman, who was scalded in a bath.

The three will be sentenced in October.

At Preston Crown Court, Judge Pamela Badley warned them they may face jail terms.

The court previously heard Margaret Wheatley, 99, suffered extensive burns to her legs and feet which were consistent with contact with water between 46C (113F)and 50C (122F)for up to five minutes.

Jurors heard the Pumbiens, of Grosvenor Place, Preston, tried to evade scrutiny by saying Mrs Wheatley had cellulitis and an infection.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) described it as "shocking abuse of extremely vulnerable adults".
'Ill-treated and abused'

Mrs Pumbien, 59, was also convicted of force-feeding Mrs Wheatley and another resident.

She was cleared of ill-treating another pensioner at the home and perverting the course of justice. The jury failed to reach verdicts on four further counts of mistreatment against her.

Police started investigating the home, in Todd Lane South, Lostock Hall, in June last year after a complaint was made about the treatment of a resident.
Abuse 'deplorable'

Officers said other allegations of mistreatment came to light during the investigation.

The home closed soon after the first allegations were made. The site is now under new ownership and has been renamed.

Ben Southam, from the CPS, said: "These three people have abused the trust placed in them by the appalling treatment of those in their care.

"Their actions have caused considerable distress not only to the victims, but also to their families who have had to hear in great detail how their loved ones were ill-treated and abused in the most deplorable way."

The jury failed to reach a verdict on an allegation of grievous bodily harm against Berry, who was accused of placing Mrs Wheatley in the bath.

Berry, 42, of Christ Church Street, Preston, was cleared of ill-treating a second resident.

The Pumbiens were also cleared of ill-treating a resident in relation to allegedly failing to provide adequate lifting equipment.