Police hunt Belfast care worker who abused elderly residents
Police are searching for a Belfast care worker convicted of abusing elderly care home residents after she failed to attend court yesterday.
Lisa Cullen left a man with a hood over his head and wheeled another resident into an empty room and left him there despite his repeated calls for help, a court was previously told.
Issuing a bench warrant for the arrest of the 40-year-old defendant at Lisburn Magistrates' Court, District Judge Rosie Watters told her solicitor that despite a letter from her doctor, "she has to be in court - there is no alternative."
Following a short trial last month, Cullen was convicted of seven counts of ill-treating five residents - two men and three women - at the Kilwee Care Home in Dunmurry on dates between November 30, 2012 and December 31, 2013.
The care worker, from Lagmore Dale, also in Dunmurry, was set to learn her sentence last week, but she also failed to attend that hearing.
When the case was adjourned, Judge Watters said that if the defendant failed to show again, she would issue a warrant for her arrest - a promise she made good on yesterday.
In addition to poorly treating the pensioners, some of whom are understood to suffer from dementia, Cullen is additionally charged with assaulting a woman, who is understood to a whistleblower who lifted the lid on her behaviour towards the home's vulnerable residents.
The judge told Cullen's solicitor: "I can understand she's anxious. There are lots of reasons to be anxious, but that applies to lots of people coming here."
Speaking outside court, a woman whose mother was one of the defendant's victims said: "We all feel gutted today that she's put the families through so much and can't come her to receive her sentence.
"It just shows you what she is. We want this over and done with. We want to get on with our lives and put that behind us and she's just taken that away from us again.
"She has no respect for anybody. She's put us through hell and she's shown no remorse.
"It just makes it all that more hard. We want to see her sentenced. We want to see her get what is due to her.
"She must come before the court and she must get sentenced."
The Kilwee Care Home, on Cloona Park in Dunmurry, is a purpose-built nursing home which cost £3m.
It opened its doors in 2011 and is equipped to care for 44 elderly residents, specialising in patients who are suffering from dementia.