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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Care home worker found guilty of spraying aerosol can in elderly woman's face

Written by Matthew Cooper

A care home worker who sprayed an aerosol can in the face of a 77-year-old woman with dementia has been convicted of an ill-treatment offence.

Susan Draper, 43, is the second care worker convicted of ill-treating Betty Boylan after her family rigged up a covert camera in her room.

Birmingham Magistrates' Court was told Draper, who has since been dismissed from the city's Bupa-run Perry Locks care home, used a can of Impulse body spray around a foot away from Mrs Boylan's face.

Draper, of Cranehouse Road, Kingstanding, denied ill-treating the immobile pensioner but was found guilty after a day-long trial heard she had "dehumanised" her in September last year.

CCTV footage (pictured) played to the trial showed what prosecutors allege was Mrs Boylan coughing and gurgling after being placed into a chair and sprayed in the face with the aerosol.

Prosecutor Sean Williams told the court the covert camera was placed in Mrs Boylan's room to monitor the retired nurse's treatment amid concerns at apparent bruising.

Describing the CCTV, Mr Williams told the court: "The prosecution say it's fairly clear she is being being sprayed in her face.

"The words used by Betty are 'stop it' - she is not able to move out of the way. She (Draper) appears to spray the top of her head. She is in very close proximity to her face, eyes and mouth.

"As she does this, the victim is heard to gurgle."

After being told the spray had gone in a colleague's mouth, Draper was heard to laugh, saying the smell of spray was "better than poo", the court heard.

The carer later told investigators she had made a "stupid mistake" and had lost her job at the home, where she worked for 17 years.

During her trial, the experienced carer told the court she thought she was "loved and liked" at Perry Locks and would never have hurt a resident, adding: "I am not an animal, I wouldn't do that."

But magistrates convicted Draper on the basis that she had been reckless and had used the spray and a hoist inappropriately.

Following the conviction, defence solicitor Peter Ricketts submitted that the offence had not harmed the victim, but had caused momentary discomfort.

Draper was granted unconditional bail until sentencing on July 24.

Care worker Bina Begum, 49, was given a 12-month community order in February after admitting ill treating and neglecting Mrs Boylan. Begum, of Teddington Grove, Perry Barr, was also ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work.

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