Runcorn care worker abused residents with dementia
An internal investigation is under way at a Cheshire care home after a support worker was convicted of abusing dementia sufferers.
Kerry Murphy, 27, punched, slapped and verbally abused a group of residents at St Luke's Nursing Home in Runcorn.
Her actions came to light when staff told the home's management company, Community Integrated Care (CIC).
Murphy was convicted of neglect and ill treatment of persons without capacity, at Warrington Crown Court.
The 60-bed home in Palacefields Avenue specialises in care for people with Alzheimer's Disease and was rated as excellent following an inspection last December.
The abuse happened over a two-year period between September 2007 and October 2009, when Murphy was suspended from her post.
Cheshire Police began an investigation after anonymous information about the care worker, from Runcorn, was passed to CIC.
Officers collected a number of statements from staff and residents which revealed that Murphy had been repeatedly physically and verbally abusing residents for two years.
Murphy was arrested in January and denied all of the allegations, but could offer no explanation for all the statements to the contrary.
On Thursday, she was found guilty of six charges by a a majority verdict. The jury cleared her of a seventh charge.
Reacting to the conviction, Det Con Bob Scott, of Cheshire Police, said: "Kerry Murphy abused her position as a carer and exploited the vulnerabilities of the victims for her own ends.
"Her victims were defenceless all suffering from dementia, and not able to tell anyone fully what had happened. I hope now they can have some peace in their lives without being subjected to cruelty."
In a statement, a spokesperson for St Luke's welcomed the conviction and said that managers were now examining what went wrong.
"We share the distress of residents and relatives on hearing the accounts of ill-treatment and abuse by Ms Murphy and will be providing any support we can to them to deal with the after affects of this," said the spokesperson.
"We hope the sentence serves a clear message that ill-treatment and abuse of vulnerable people will not be tolerated at our home.
"As soon as we received the allegations we took immediate action by alerting the safeguarding team and suspending her. Now the case is over we shall be carrying out our own internal investigations."
Murphy, of Westwood, Windmill Hill, was released on bail and will be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on 9 September.