A care worker has been convicted of ill-treating a vulnerable dementia patient following a contested hearing at Enniskillen Magistrates Court.
Caroline Curran (48) from Ballyconnell Road, Derrylin denied losing her temper and swearing at the elderly lady on 12 November 2019, in the presence of a junior staff member, who was left shocked.
Giving evidence, the junior carer said the day of the incident was the first she had worked with the defendant, who was usually in a different unit of the County Care Home, Enniskillen.
Both carers were assisting the victim to the bathroom, having used a special hoist to move her from a wheelchair. The victim's condition caused her to become agitated at times, and on this occasion she began spitting.
The junior carer said this angered Curran who swore at the victim using the word 'f***' and calling her a 'c***' and a tramp'.
She then took a length of toilet roll and: "Held it with some degree of force and for a prolonged period of time against the victim's lips."
In the process of this Curran said: "You'll never do that again."
The junior carer was deeply shocked but reluctant to challenge Curran, a longer-term member of staff.
When the victim was moved back from the hoist into a chair afterwards, Curran used 'excessive force', pushing her knees down to get her to sit.
She then drew the junior carer aside and said: "What you seen there is me teaching (victim) some manners." At this point the junior carer reported her concerns to senior staff and later made a statement to police.
Curran however, when called to the witness box, rejected the incident occurred. She said the victim was annoyed and spitting: "But without much force; it mostly landed on herself".
Curran accepted using toilet roll to clear this away from the victim's mouth but denied forcibly holding it to her lips.
She further denied using abusive language and insisted there was no requirement to push the victim's knees to sit them down.
In respect of the comment on teaching the victim manners, Curran claimed this never occurred.
District Judge Steven Keown retired to consider the case and after around 20 minutes returned a guilty verdict.
Finding her guilty, District Judge Steven Keown praised junior member of staff for coming forward and said: "This is a very serious case involving ill-treatment of a vulnerable patient."
Sentencing will take place next month.