Abuse at Winterbourne View care home detailed in court for first time
SECRET filming by an undercover reporter captured a support worker at a Bristol care home consistently assaulting vulnerable people in his care.
Wayne Rogers was the first of 11 staff at Winterbourne View Hospital to have his case scrutinised, in a week-long mass sentencing at Bristol Crown Court, which started today.
Families and friends of both the defendants and their victims packed into Court Seven where, for the first time, prosecutor Kerry Barker opened the case for the Crown before focusing on the specific roles of those involved.
The support workers and two nurses at the hospital have admitted their roles in abuse of residents.
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Michael Ezenagu, 29, of Malabar Court, India Way, London, who pleaded guilty to two counts of ill-treating one patient
Graham Doyle, 26, who pleaded guilty to seven charges of ill-treating one patient.
Jason Gardiner, 43, of Mellent Avenue, Bristol, who admitted two charges of ill-treating two patients.
Danny Brake, 27, of Beechen Drive, Fishponds, who pleaded guilty to two counts of ill-treating two patients.
Sookalingum Appoo, 59, of Dial Lane, Bristol, who admitted three charges of wilfully neglecting a patient.
Wayne Rogers, 32, of Purton Close, Bristol, who pleaded guilty to nine charges of ill-treating three patients.
Alison Dove, 25, of Chipperfield Drive, Bristol, who pleaded guilty to seven charges of ill-treating three patients.
Holly Draper, 24, of The Old Orchard, Mangotsfield, who pleaded guilty to two charges of ill-treating one patient.
Charlotte Cotterell ,22, of Melrose Avenue, Yate, who pleaded guilty to one charge of ill-treating one patient.
Neil Ferguson, 28, of Emersons Green, who pleaded guilty to one count of ill-treating one patient.
Kelvin Fore, 33, of Ellesmere Walk, Middlesborough, who pleaded guilty to one charge of wilfully neglecting on patient.
Mr Barker said the hospital opened in 2006 and was owned by Castlebeck Ltd, based in Darlington.
Though it was supposed to provide services relating to learning disability, nursing and psychiatry, the majority of staff were unregulated support workers who were not subject to any code of conduct or minimum trading standards.
Mr Barker said it was clear Castlebeck and its senior managers had little or no interest in the care and welfare of patients at Winterbourne View, concerns of relatives and patients were brushed aside and he motivation was simply money.
Mr Barker said: "Sadly, as demonstrated by what court is about to see, those agencies responsible for the inspection and oversight of what was happening to patients at Winterbourne View failed to fulfil their responsibilities despite numerous warnings and indicators of the inhumane, cruel and hate-filled treatment of those patients."
The court heard five residents who had learning disabilities were left scarred by abuse they suffered.
Acting on a tip-off, undercover journalist Joseph Casey undertook specialist training provided by the BBC and started work at the hospital, secretly recording discussions and events and making a video diary and notes after his shifts.
The court was shown secret filming of Rogers abusing a woman patient by pinning her down with a chair, grabbing her hair and slapping her.
Film showed him taunting the screaming and swearing patient into a fight in protracted battles of wills between "carer" and resident.
In one disturbing clip, Rogers asked her: "Do you want me to get a cheese grater and grate off your face? Get a razor, cut you up?
The patient swore at him and threatened to tell the police, but the restraining and slapping went on and at one stage she was left lying outside in the cold, shaking.
At this point Rogers accuses her of feigning a seizure because her legs are not shaking.
When Rogers was interviewed by police in May last year he made no comment, but when shown the secret filming he said he was using techniques he had seen.
He said no-one had taught him techniques for dealing with difficult patients.
In July, in a third interview, Rogers accepted he had overstepped the mark on a lot of occasions.
Giles Nelson, defending, said his client was a man of previous good character, with a daughter.
He said Rogers had worked as a carer for three years, without complaint, before starting his £16,500 per annum job with Castlebeck.
Mr Nelson said: "He genuinely doesn't recognise himself on that footage."
Mr Nelson said his client had felt pressurised at the hospital, working 12-hour shifts over three days without a chance of three meals a day and no debriefs or breaks after incidents.
"He felt isolated," Mr Nelson said. "His recommendations to management were ignored , his recommendations of skill-sharing were ignored and he felt exacerbated.
"He was keen initially but he became disillusioned over time."
The court heard that, with an over-stretched staff, an "atmosphere of conflict" developed.
Mr Nelson said: "He utterly lost self-esteem and then seemed to behave in the most disgraceful way.
"His pre-sentence report shows great insight in his behaviour now. This was a caring man but he didn't manage the situation.
"It was an odd mix of cruelty and kindness how he de-humanised the patients within the unit."
Mr Nelson asked for any prison sentence for his client to be lowered to reflect his guilty plea.
Rogers asked to be remanded in custody, as did Dove, pending sentencing of all defendants on Friday.
The case continues.