Carer jailed for hitting disabled teen

Stanley Nkenka has been jailed for six months for ill treatment of Zak Rowlands, below
Stanley Nkenka has been jailed for six months for ill treatment of Zak Rowlands, below

A carer caught on camera assaulting a severely disabled teenager in a Leyland care home has been jailed for six months.

Frail Zak Rowlands, 19, who was born with a chromosome disorder, autism and severe learning difficulties, was slapped by Stanley Nkenka, 35.

Zak Rowlands

Zak Rowlands

The youngster, who is the size of a 12-year-old due to his illness, was being cared for at Oxen Barn in Longmeanygate, a specialist care home, when Nkenka, of St Ethelbert’s Avenue, Bolton, hit him.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of ill treating someone who lacked mental capacity.

Zak’s mum Julie took to the witness stand to read her statement in person because she “wanted Nkenka to hear the anguish he had caused.”

In tears she said: “Sadly, my loving, affectionate and incredibly vulnerable son has not got the ability to speak.”

She said she “felt sick” when she viewed the footage, and also felt guilty.

Nkenka’s partner attended the hearing with their newborn baby and another man.

Nkenka, dressed in a black suit, glanced at Zak’s parents in the public gallery then buried his face in his hand.

Zak’s parents, Paul and Julie, both 47, grew suspicious when Zak, who cannot speak, started flinching when he was approached, and hid a camera in his room.

The footage, which was not played in court to avid distressing the family, showed Nkenka hit him saying “Go to bed, it’s time to sleep.” He then pulls the sheet on him, calling him a “stupid boy” and adds: “ Don’t come out – if you come out I’ll hit your head again”, and then hit him again.

Footage two hour later shows Zak coming into the room again. He is crying and Nkenka says “just try” and hits him with a dressing gown.

Defending, Kathryn Johnson said: “The defendant read their statements and knows the depth of the feeling they have. He would like to apologise to them through me.

“This is very much out of character for him.”

Judge Christopher Cornwall said: “The ill treatment seems to me to be dismissive of him as a human being, unkind, uncaring, and really disrespectful of him as a human being. The wider public must know those who behave as you have done will lose their liberty.”