Belfast Telegraph

Ulster carer stole meals from starving Alzheimer's woman (70)

A Northern Ireland carer stole food meant for a starving elderly woman with Alzheimer's disease and made her watch as she ate it.

Patricia Young, 54, scoffed down meals in front of helpless Ivy McCluskey, 70, whose stomach rumbled from hunger pangs when she was put to bed at night.

Relatives, alarmed by her loss of weight, installed a hidden camera to monitor Young as she attended the pensioner at her home in Lisburn, Co Antrim. Later they looked on in disbelief as they watched a recording of Young eat the food which was supposed to be set in front of their mother - who died three months after Young stopped caring for her.

Mrs McCluskey's daughter Mandy said: "We cannot comprehend how any human being can do it to another human being."

Young, from Mandeville Avenue in Lisburn, has pleaded guilty to ill-treating mother-of-five Mrs McCluskey on separate occasions at her home in October 2009. She was dismissed from her job and is due back at Lisburn Magistrates' Court next month for sentencing.

Mandy McCluskey said her mother, a former housekeeper, had always been very active and lively and had brought up her children through difficult times with little money and they never wanted for anything.

She added: "It was one of the illnesses she feared and for her to be treated at the hands of someone like that at the end of all those fears that she had is just really, really scary."

Ms McCluskey said they were staggered by what they found when they viewed the surveillance camera footage. Young spooned up celery soup and then lifted a fork to devour mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts.

Mandy McCluskey added: "We felt complete and utter horror and shock, words cannot describe it, at what was revealed."

The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said it was sorry for what happened. A spokeswoman for the trust said: "The trust apologies for the unacceptable standard of care provided to Mrs McCluskey."

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