Carer sentenced for threatening and taunting a dementia sufferer
A 24-year-old woman has been sentenced for ill-treating an 84-year-old resident at the Wirral care home where she worked.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Valentina Baghiu, of Borough Road in Tranmere, poked, threatened and grabbed the wrist of the victim who was frail and suffered from dementia.
The incidents had been filmed on the defendant’s mobile phone while she was working at Birch Tree Manor Nursing Home.
The first video shows Baghiu poking the elderly resident with a broom and shouting at her to stay awake.
In the second video the carer is out of shot but appears to be sitting next to the resident and filming her. She is laughing and taunting the resident and begins to poke the resident who becomes very distressed.
The resident says: “Get off me” and “I hate it, leave me alone.” She tries to get up and move away but the carer grabs her by the wrist and pulls her roughly back down into the seat. The resident cries out in pain. The carer then shows the resident a clenched fist.
Baghiu was suspended from her job on 9 December 2019 and she was arrested. Unfortunately, by this time her victim had died from an unrelated cause on 21 November 2019. She had been receiving 24 hour, one to one care at the home as she was at high risk of falls.
The victim's daughter told police officers that, towards the end of her life, her mother said that a member of staff had been grabbing, pushing, punching her and shouting at her. Sometimes she would have bruising to her arms but the family thought this was just due to the fact she would bruise easily.
A translator identified some of the comments that Baghiu had made to the victim in the videos. These included, "You're gonna get it (what's coming to you). Watch out, you'll see what a good plucking you're gonna get tonight” and "I'll mess you up like nothing else".
Baghiu was charged with the ill-treatment/wilful neglect of an individual by a care worker. She pleaded guilty on 5 January 2021 at Birkenhead Magistrates’ Court.
At Liverpool Crown Court today (7 April 2021) she was given a six-month jail term, suspended for 18 months.
She must also do 75 hours of compulsory unpaid work for the community, take part in a Rehabilitation Activity for a maximum of 15 days and she must be supervised by the Probation Service and pay £122 Surcharge to the Court.
In a moving Victim Personal Statement, the resident’s daughter said: “My mother was a social worker, so spent her life looking after vulnerable people.
"To then find out that, when she was at her most vulnerable, she was taken advantage of, is sickening. My mother had one to one care, which mistakenly made the family presume she was very safe, well looked after and, most importantly, happy.
"Instead, now we must contend with the fact that her final weeks were full of misery, fear and trauma."
Associate Prosecutor Alan Currums of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: “This is an incredibly sad case. The victim’s family had planned their mother’s funeral but were then told it had to be delayed because of what had emerged about Baghiu. They couldn’t talk to anyone about this as a criminal investigation was under way.
“They had thought their mother was safe but she had become the victim of a heartless and callous bully who filmed the assaults on their mother because she thought they were funny.
“Most carers, including the staff at this home, care for the residents compassionately and competently, despite the challenges presented by patients with dementia.
“The good work of the vast majority of carers should not be forgotten when the actions of people like Valentina Baghiu come to light. They are the bad apples in an area of care that is often the scene of great kindness and professionalism.”