| 14.6°C Belfast

Pair convicted of abusing patients

Close

James Hinds was convicted of 10 counts of ill-treating patients at Sheffield Crown Court

James Hinds was convicted of 10 counts of ill-treating patients at Sheffield Crown Court

PA

Susan Murphy outside Sheffield Crown Court, where she was found guilty of 15 counts of ill-treating patients

Susan Murphy outside Sheffield Crown Court, where she was found guilty of 15 counts of ill-treating patients

PA

James Hinds was convicted of 10 counts of ill-treating patients at Sheffield Crown Court

Two care assistants who abused severely disabled patients are guilty of "an appalling abuse of trust and a violation of what society should be able to expect from people in the care profession", prosecutors have said.

James Hinds and Susan Murphy humiliated and assaulted vulnerable adults at a mental health unit in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

Hinds, 59, and Murphy, 43, were found guilty of a total of 25 counts of ill-treating outpatients at the Solar Centre, at St Catherine's Hospital, by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court.

Two of their colleagues - care assistant Julie Burge and physiotherapy assistant Michael Barnard - were acquitted of all charges following a month-long trial.

Hinds and Murphy were found guilty of ill-treating 12 different outpatients between them at the centre between January 2005 and March 2007. All are extremely vulnerable adults. Hinds was convicted of 10 charges and acquitted of a further nine after the jury of five men and seven women deliberated for two days. Murphy was found guilty of 15 charges and was cleared of a further five.

Hinds threw one man into a wheelchair, dragged another to the toilet and hit another with a microphone. Murphy locked one woman in a cupboard, prosecutor Sarah Wright told the court.

Judge Rosalind Coe told the pair they will be sentenced on June 14. She said: "You are both fully aware that custodial sentences are the likely outcome."

After the case, Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside CPS, said: "People attended the Solar Centre for respite, care and understanding. Instead they were subjected to humiliation, abuse and ill-treatment due to their vulnerability. This is an appalling abuse of trust and a violation of what society should be able to expect from people in the care profession."

The Solar Centre is run by Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH). Outside court, Dr Nav Ahluwalia, executive medical director for RDaSH issued an apology and added: "The trust has implemented improvements to the learning disability service at this centre to minimise the risks of such incidents happening again."

Detective Chief Inspector Natalie Shaw, who led the South Yorkshire Police investigation, said: "I am pleased we have finally been able to hold those responsible to account and hope this result will bring closure for the victims and their families and they can try to move forward with their lives."