Two found guilty of ill treatment and neglect at West Sussex care home

|News, Hate crime

Two carers at a specialist care home in West Sussex have been convicted for the wilful neglect and ill treatment of a vulnerable woman patient, following an investigation by West Sussex safeguarding detectives.

Danny Dias, 57, of Linfield Copse, Thakeham, pleaded guilty at Horsham Magistrates' Court on Monday (February 26) to ill treatment contrary to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Wyn Ellis, also 57, of St Marys Close, Littlehampton was found guilty after a one-day trial before Horsham Magistrates also on Monday (February 26) of wilfully neglecting a person without capacity, contrary to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

They will be sentenced on March 20 at Worthing Magistrates' Court.

On 26 April last year, while they were employed as the privately-run High Noon adult care home in Pulborough, a privately run home operated by Arundel Care Services & Arundel Domiciliary Care Services Ltd, Dias shot a 31-second video on his mobile phone showing Dias having tied the woman's ankles together using a cable. Both Ellis and Dias are then heard laughing and shouting at her while she struggles to walk, falls over and tries to crawl towards them.

Dias later sent the footage to the mobile phone of another staff member, who alerted the management.

The home supports people with complex needs, including learning disabilities, challenging behaviour, mental health problems, sensory impairment and health related needs.

Gareth Morgan, Area Hate Crime Coordinator for the CPS, said: “The CPS treated this as a disability hate crime as we believe this crime was motivated by hostility based on the victim’s disability.

“Tackling hate crime, and particularly disability hate crime, which has low reporting levels, is a key priority for us in the South East."

Detective Constable Erica Lawrie, of Sussex Police, said: "This was appalling treatment of a very vulnerable woman by two of the very people employed to care for her. Fortunately another staff member brought this gross breach of trust to the attention of the home managers, who contacted us.

"Fortunately the woman did not sustain any physical injury but her distress was clear and the longer-term impact on her can only be imagined."

To help support victims, the CPS has published an online support guide for disabled victims and witnesses of crime, which explains what can be prosecuted as disability hate crimes and provides a step-by-step guide to the process of reporting a crime and prosecuting a case.

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