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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 22:45 GMT
Care agency 'not fit'
Still from prosecution video
A video was shown during the case
An agency which employed three care workers cleared of assaulting an 87-year-old woman, has had its official registration refused.

The three carers were found not guilty of common assault at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

But the judge criticised the standard of care they provided for Lucy Neal.

The National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) said the West Midlands agency which provided the three workers was not "fit" for registration.

'Murdering her'

The court had been shown a video of how Mrs Neal had been looked after recorded on a camera set up by her son, Joseph, in April last year.

The prosecution had claimed the pensioner was being force fed talc and handled with "excessive force" at her home in Handsworth, Birmingham, in April last year.

But Nordia Noteman, 25, from West Bromwich, who was cleared of any assault, had denied making Mrs Neal eat the talcum powder.

She had told police she was trying to prevent Mrs Neal from lolling her tongue out to catch the talcum powder, but admitted her resistance sometimes sounded like "we are murdering her".

Rosemarie Malvo, 27, from Handsworth and Maxine Davidson, 36, of Winson Green, were also cleared of common assault.

I cannot be sure the defendant poured talcum powder into her mouth
District Judge Neil Davison

However, District Judge Neil Davison told the three they had failed to provide Mrs Neal, who has a range of physical and cognitive disorders, with an adequate standard of care.

He said: "I note the standard of care fell below that which could be expected."

Referring to the video footage, Judge Davison said: "I cannot be sure the defendant poured talcum powder into her mouth."

Judge Davison said in order to convict the carers of a criminal assault, he had to be sure there were "criminal intentions" or "recklessness".

The three workers were employed by Welcome Community Care Agency, in Winson Green, Birmingham.

John Paul Maytum, of NCSC, said: "We currently believe they are not fit to be given registration with the National Care Standards Commission, so we're refusing their registration subject to appeal."

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