Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Solar Centre abuse case jury retires

Solar Centre, Doncaster
Image caption The alleged offences took place at the Solar Centre between January 2005 and March 2007

The jury in the trial of four former health workers accused of abusing disabled patients at a day care centre has retired to consider its verdicts.

Susan Murphy, 44, Michael Barnard, 50, James Hinds, 59, and Julie Burge, 49, are between them charged with 52 counts of mistreating 17 vulnerable adults.

They worked at the Solar Centre at St Catherine's Hospital, Doncaster, at the time of the alleged offences.

They deny all the charges in the trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

'Slapped and punched'

The trial has heard many of the patients had a range of physical disabilities including blindness.

The prosecution described how some were slapped and punched, while others were yanked out of wheelchairs or thrown into ball pools.

Police were called after one staff member decided to leave in March 2007 and made formal allegations of the mistreatment of patients, the court heard.

Mr Hinds denies 22 counts of ill-treating a patient, Ms Murphy denies 19 counts of the same charge, Mr Barnard denies seven counts and Ms Burge denies three counts.

Ms Murphy also denies one count of wilfully neglecting a patient.

All the charges relate to the period between January 2005 and March 2007.

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