Former nursing home carer admits ill-treating patients

A carer who worked at a Norfolk nursing home was given a 12-week suspended jail sentence after he admitted ill-treating six vulnerable patients.

Richard Thurtle, 36, was employed at Overbury House Nursing Home in Wroxham, which cares for elderly, mentally infirm people, including some patients with dementia and other disabilities.

Norwich Crown Court heard that he was investigated for his actions towards some of the elderly patients following complaints by some of his colleagues.

Richard Potts, prosecuting, yesterday said that one of the complaints involved him acting a bit heavy-handed with a woman with dementia who had fallen asleep when she was meant to be eating her food and another complaint was when he pinged the bra of another woman in a playful way, but which had been upsetting to the dignity of the patient.

Mr Potts said that another complaint involved the rough way he had handled a woman with incontinence problems.

Thurtle, of Whitegates, Ludham, admitted six counts of ill-treating a person lacking in mental capacity.

Jailing him for 12 weeks, suspended for two years, Judge Peter Jacobs told him that the job he had taken on required a great deal of patience and training to safeguard the patients.

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'This sort of work is difficult and demanding and the reality is that the bulk of the population would be unable or unwilling to do this work. It is demanding and patients are difficult and a great deal of patience is required. When people take on this work, they do take on an enormous responsibility.'

He added: 'It is your duty having taken on the job to do it properly.'

He also ordered Thurtle to do 240 hours' unpaid work and pay �1,000 costs.

Andrew Thompson, for Thurtle, said that none of the ill-treatment had been deliberate and no physical injury was inflicted.

'He was completely unsuitable to do this type of work. He was left in a position where he was frustrated.'

He added: 'These were particularly challenging residents.'

He said that Thurtle had no desire to ever work in this field again.