Nurse abused dementia patients at Livingston Care Home

Image source, Vic Rodrick
Image caption,
Three care assistants gave "credible and compelling" evidence against Beverley Thompson

A nurse faces being struck off after being convicted of abusing dementia patients in her care.

Beverley Thompson, 47, had denied five counts of ill-treating or wilfully neglecting elderly residents in the Livingston Care Home, West Lothian.

She was convicted of committing four of the offences in September and October last year.

Three care assistants gave what a sheriff called "credible and compelling" evidence against her.

Livingston Sheriff Court was told Thompson lifted one patient and forcibly pushed her from behind as she walked along a corridor. As a result the woman lost her balance and almost fell.

'Barricaded door'

Thompson, from Bathgate, also placed her leg against the stomach of another resident as the woman shouted "You're hurting my belly!" and forcibly pinned her to a chair.

The court was then told she left another member of staff "gobsmacked" when she dragged a third patient by the wrists and forcibly placed her in a chair.

She turned to other staff members and told them: "You saw that. I never used any violence whatsoever."

She was further convicted of barricading a door to prevent the woman from leaving a room, forcibly pushing her down onto a bed and trapping her there by wrapping the bedclothes tightly around her body.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
The offences happened at the Livingston Care Home in Dedridge

The court heard evidence that she turned to a colleague and said: "That's the way you settle her."

She was acquitted of pinching a fourth resident by the nose and pulling her head back so she could pour medication down her throat after the sheriff ruled there was insufficient corroboration to convict her.

Thompson disputed all the allegations and claimed in her defence: "It just didn't happen."

Returning guilty verdicts in the four linked charges, Sheriff Martin Edington said he was satisfied that the principle of mutual corroboration meant there was sufficient evidence to convict her.

He said he found the evidence of the care home assistants and their manager both credible and convincing and highlighted the evidence of carer Jasmine Kelly about why she had not reported the incident at the time as "particularly compelling".

'Shocked and distressed'

He said: "She said it was because she could lose her job and other staff had reported things and not been believed."

By comparison he said the accused's evidence veered between being "strident" and "evasive". He told her: "I wasn't persuaded by your medical evidence of arthritis.

"You can work over 50 hours a week in a job that's physically demanding but you can't stand on one leg and put your leg over someone's body?

"I have no hesitation in rejecting your evidence and the evidence of the defence witnesses."

During Thompson's trial she said she had qualified as a state registered nurse six years ago and had worked at the dementia unit for three years.

Now unemployed, she denied she had become irritable at work as a result of tiredness from working extra shifts.

Three nursing assistants who worked at the home in Dedridge, Livingston, gave evidence that they were "shocked" and "distressed" when they witnessed Thompson abusing residents in their care.

Lesley Cunningham, defending, said the evidence had revealed a "divide" between nursing staff such as Thompson and the care assistants, adding: "Three care assistants we've heard did not speak in support of Miss Thompson but a nurse has."

Sheriff Edington called for background reports. Thompson, who has no previous convictions, will be sentenced on 13 December.