Care worker jailed for abuse of vulnerable dementia sufferer

A care worker who was secretly filmed physically abusing an 80-year-old woman with dementia has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

A care home worker who was secretly filmed abusing an 80-year-old woman with dementia has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.


Jonathan Aquino was caught physically attacking Maria Worroll, a resident of London-based Ash Court Care Centre, in June last year after her worried daughter installed a hidden camera in her room.


After the alarm was raised, Camden Council’s safeguarding team and the police visited Ash Court and Aquino was arrested. Another four members of staff were suspended by the care centre and later dismissed.


The CQC waited until the initial police investigation was complete before inspecting the home on 27 June. During that inspection, and a second inspection in August 2011, none of the other residents or their families raised concerns.


“The abuse that the resident at Ash Court suffered was appalling,” said Matthew Trainer, the CQC’s deputy director of operations in London. “But abuse like this does not happen in front of management or our inspectors, so it is very difficult to detect.


“Once we had been alerted, we immediately contacted Camden Council and the police and worked with them to make sure residents were safe. We inspected the home as soon as the police had completed their initial work, have kept a close eye on the home since our initial inspection and have found no evidence that the abuse has been repeated.”


Aquino, of Tottenham, London, admitted common assault and ill treatment of a vulnerable person and was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on 13 April to 18 months in jail.


Following the sentencing, the Relatives and Residents Association, a national charity dedicated to the welfare of older people in care, called for the reinstatement of twice-yearly inspections of care homes.


“This is one of the worst cases of abuse we have witnessed,” said Judy Downey, the association’s chair. “[Once-yearly inspections] are not enough and mean that abuse can still go undetected with no one to support frail and very dependent people.”


A spokesperson for Ash Court said: “We are pleased justice has been done. […] This matter caused great distress to residents and staff alike. Although this was an isolated incident, it is an important reminder that an individual may commit a criminal act even in the most professionally run and highly regulated environment.”


Photo by Monkey Business Images/Rex Features


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