Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 14:47 UK

Home staff cleared of OAP neglect

Gladys Thomas
Gladys Thomas suffered from schizophrenia and dementia

Eight nursing home workers have been cleared of wilful neglect of a patient after the prosecution dropped the case.

Gladys Thomas, 84, died within five weeks of arriving at Bryngwyn Mountleigh nursing home in Newbridge, Caerphilly, in September 2005.

She was admitted to hospital a month later, where staff found she had fractures to her collar bone and rib.

The Crown Prosecution Service made its decision after hearing three weeks of evidence at Newport Crown Court.

One nurse, John Barry Adler, had already pleaded guilty to neglect on the basis of not administering Miss Thomas the correct medication.

The eight, who had all pleaded not guilty, are Evan Green, 35, of Fairwater, Cwmbran; John Sunday Ajewole, 53, of Newbridge; Ebeneezer Ajiwe, 48, of Abercarn; Peter John Booth, 35, of Newbridge; Tahir Hayat, 30, of Newport; Angela Johnson, 37, of Crumlin; Shibu Joseph, 32, of Newport; and Debra Richards, 45, of Bedwas.

Miss Thomas, who suffered from schizophrenia and dementia as well as chronic physical problems, died at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport on 27 October 2005.

As well as the fractures, she also had extensive bruising and a ligature mark around one of her forearms, the width of the lead of a plug.

Top Peter Booth (left) and Tahir Hayat; Angela Johnson and Shibu Joseph; Evan Green and  Ajewole; bottom Debra Richards and Ebeneezer Ajiwe
All eight were cleared of the charges against them

Gerald Elias, prosecuting, said the Crown had weighed evidence from all sides in making its decision.

"The case originally ... was suggestive of a number of separate episodes of trauma," he told the court.

"The evidence and information now available suggests that it is possible that one episode of trauma caused the fractures and that the bruising is a direct result of the fractures, and not of additional episodes of trauma to the body.

"Further, and importantly, expert opinion cannot say when the bruising which resulted from the fractures would have become apparent as a warning sign that something was wrong internally.

"Also, the 'skin deep' nature of the bruising means that, in itself, it is unlikely to have caused Gladys Thomas any additional pain or suffering."

He said they could not realistically invite a jury to conclude there had been wilful neglect.

Mr Elias added: "It may be possible to construct cases of neglect against some of these defendants based upon the evidence which the jury has heard and we have considered the position of each defendant with care.

"We have also borne in mind our duty of fairness to the defendants and the justice of the case.

"In the result we have taken the view that the failings established, if they be such, may seriously reflect upon the inadequacies of the regime at the home but do not impact directly upon the care afforded to Gladys Thomas in the sense of reflecting the concerns which prompted the original investigation and trial of this matter."

The court had previously heard Miss Thomas had been admitted to hospital on 10 October for two days where she had showed no signs of significant external injury.

She was readmitted on 19 October suffering breathing difficulties and it was during the seven-day period between hospital visits that the prosecution had alleged the neglect had occurred.

OAP 'neglected' by nursing staff
23 Apr 08 |  South East Wales

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