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Dementia resident ‘told carer ate pet

Image caption Joan Lovell, Mary Craddock and Elizabeth Collins are on trial at Oxford Crown Court

Three former care home employees ill-treated and neglected residents including taunting one with dementia about eating a pet, a court has heard.

Residents were allegedly refused access to the toilet, slapped and verbally abused at Winterbrook Nursing Home in Oxfordshire between 2015 and 2017.

The woman with dementia was told by one defendant she had eaten her imaginary budgie, Oxford Crown Court heard.

Elizabeth Collins, Joan Lovell and Mary Craddock deny 18 offences.

Prosecutor Kim Preston said residents were “humiliated” and “distressed” and the former employees were “a law unto themselves”.

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Image caption Thames Valley Police were called to Winterbrook Nursing Home in Wallingford in June 2017

She said there was a rule they could not use the toilet for up to 90 minutes during mealtimes, sometimes resulting in them soiling themselves.

Care worker Ms Craddock is accused of slapping residents and taunting a woman with dementia that she had eaten her imaginary pet budgie at the Wallingford-based home.

Home manager Mrs Collins and supervisor Miss Lovell, who are sisters, are alleged to have “turned a blind eye” to this behaviour, as well as mistreating residents themselves.


A video interview with resident Marjorie Willsman, 80, who suffers from Parkinson’s and arthritis, was played to the jury.

She said on one occasion when she asked to use the toilet Mrs Craddock told her she was “bloody inconsiderate” and refused to take her.

Mrs Willsman said this happened “reasonably often” and sometimes caused her to have “accidents”, which left her feeling humiliated.

Mrs Craddock also regularly swore at the residents, she said, and on one occasion the bell she used to call for help was deliberately turned off because “they thought I was ringing it too much”.

“It’s not very nice to be made to feel guilty for asking for help,” she added.

The charges

  • Mrs Collins, 62, of Kynaston Road, Didcot, denies three counts of ill-treatment and seven counts of breaching a care provider’s duty of care resulting in neglect
  • Miss Lovell, 63, of St Leonard’s Lane, Wallingford, denies two counts of ill-treatment and one count of breaching a care provider’s duty of care resulting in neglect
  • Ms Craddock, 59, of Croft Road, Wallingford, denies five counts of ill-treatment

Miss Preston said the former employees had also bullied new staff, who were told off if they did not follow the rules laid down by the three defendants.

She said: “When you are working with people, and vulnerable people in particular, you have an obligation to be respectful and treat them with dignity and kindness.

“Those residents were not treated as they should have been, and there is no excuse for that.”

The prosecution alleges the women committed offences against six victims between April 2015 and July 2017.

The trial continues.

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