‘Abuse’ of care home patients

A COUPLE and their daughter-in-law have appeared in court accused of “systematic abuse” of vulnerable patients at a care home.

Trevor and Barbara Foster, and Lisa Thorn have been charged with ill treating or wilfully neglecting eight people at Woodlands Residential Home in Ryhill.

The offences are alleged to have taken place against five women and three men between April 1, 2007, and March 30, 2009.

They appeared at Pontefract Magistrates’ Court on Monday to face the charges brought under section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Foster, 66, and his wife, aged 64, both of St Anne’s Street, Ryhill, owned the care home, on Nostell Lane.

Thorn, 46, of Mayfields Way, South Kirkby, managed the day-to-day running of Woodlands, which catered for adults with learning difficulties aged under 65.

Prosecuting, Manda Paris said: “It is the Crown’s case that this is systematic abuse over a number of years at the care home, which is the neglect or mistreatment of the residents there.”

The family are accused of a number of different offences including withholding food or providing food which was inadequate.

The Crown alleges they did not heat the home properly and they also mismanaged residents’ benefits.

Foster, dressed in a green jumper and tweed jacket, and his wife, who wore a camel coat and leather gloves, were represented by Stuart Page. Mr Page also represented Thorn, who wore a brown skirt and jacket.

They spoke only to confirm their names, addresses and ages and did not enter pleas.

Marilyn Blunt, chairwoman of the magistrates’ bench, released all the defendants on conditional bail.

She said: “The bench feel this case should be heard at the Crown Court.”

Their next appearance before the court will be in August.

The Fosters and Thorn were arrested in April 2009 and charged last month after a three year police investigation.

The Care Quality Commission, which regulates care homes in the UK, confirmed Woodlands closed in 2009 .