Northampton

Social worker struck off over 'baby murderers' taunt

A social worker has been struck off after shouting "baby murderers" outside a couple's home and making threats to kill them.

Joanna Burgess, from Northampton, was arrested after she and two others shouted abuse at the pair in July 2012.

She was later given a conditional discharge for the offence.

Making a previous temporary suspension permanent, the Health and Care Professions Council said her behaviour had been "aggressive and frightening".

Burgess had previously given a statement to police about the couple and had known them for several years, the panel was told.

One member of the group threw a brick through their window, leaving a woman inside needing stitches to her head.

In December 2012 at Kettering Magistrates' Court, Burgess admitted using threatening words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

'Damaged public confidence'

Burgess was temporarily suspended from her job for 12 months at a hearing in 2013, which was renewed a year later. But the panel has now decided to make her suspension permanent.

It ruled that she had damaged public confidence in her profession.

She was not present at the hearing, but the panel heard that she had passed on a message that she had "no intention of practising in the future" due to ill health.

Panel chairman Julian Weinberg said: "In all the circumstances the panel has decided that a further suspension order would not serve any useful purpose, in view of the persistent lack of engagement and continuing impairment.

"The panel has taken into account the fact that through her husband, Mrs Burgess has stated that she has an ongoing and serious health condition, that she has no intention of returning to social work and that she wants this process to come to an end."

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