A ‘highly trained and respected’ care worker has lost his job after kneeling on a vulnerable autism sufferer’s arm, a court heard.
Jonathan Cook, of Moss Street, Great Harwood, was working at Calderstones Hospital and responsible of looking after the resident patient when the incident happened in July 2014.
Preston Crown Court heard how the 41-year-old ‘crushed’ the victim’s arm after kneeling on him as he was being held by supine restraint before ‘flicking his ears’.
Cook, who had worked in the care industry for 13 years before being dismissed from the role, was found guilty after a trial of two counts of ill-treatment.
Another Calderstones staff member, Michael Mercer, 48, of Towerhill, Clitheroe, was also found guilty of a single count of the same charge.
The court heard how he ‘slapped’ the same victim at least eight times to the side of his head and ears in a separate incident in September 2014.
Both men were sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.
Lucy Wright, prosecuting, said the victim was a residential patient at the hospital and ‘required round the clock care’.
The court heard that both incidents were witnessed by staff and reported to the police. The victim did not suffer any injuries or distress as a result of the ill-treatment, the court was told.
Jonathan Savage, defending Cook, said the incident involving his client came in the context of ‘yet another extraordinarily violent outburst’ by the victim and he was ‘unable to use the techniques he had been taught’.
He told the court that the ‘flicking’ of the ears is also ‘perhaps not what we first had in mind’ and was described to the court as Cook running the back of his fingers across the back of the victim’s ears.
Mr Savage said: “The impact of the conviction is going to have a long-term effect upon him. He will not be able to work in the area he dedicated himself for many years.”
The court heard how both defendants were described as ‘wholly professional’ and their colleagues had ‘never seen anything like this before’.
Judge James Adkin said the victim was ‘unpredictable and quickly violent’ but that was ‘no excuse for breaching the trust’ they had to care for him.
He said that their ‘lifetime careers are in essence in tatters’.
After the hearing, Det Con Matt Capper from the Public Protection Unit said: “Both Cook and Mercer took advantage of the victim’s lack of capacity and vulnerability when they were in a position of trust.
“They had a duty of care towards him but instead they neglected their basic responsibilities, for which they should be utterly ashamed.”