Care home boss convicted of ill-treating elderly residents

(L-R) Meghadeven and Indranee Pumbien of Preston, Lancs., arriving at Preston Crown Court. Mr and Mrs Pumbien are on trial after being charged following an investigation into the alleged ill treatment and neglect of patients at Briarwood Rest Home in Lostock Hall.
(L-R) Meghadeven and Indranee Pumbien of Preston, Lancs., arriving at Preston Crown Court. Mr and Mrs Pumbien are on trial after being charged following an investigation into the alleged ill treatment and neglect of patients at Briarwood Rest Home in Lostock Hall.

The owner of a Lancashire care home has been told to expect a prison sentence after being convicted of ill-treating vulnerable residents in her care.

A co-worker has also been told she may face custody after being found guilty of neglect.

Pictured - The care home formerly known as Briarwood Rest Home in Lostock Hall, Lancs., which is now called Willowbrooke care home. Meghadeven and Indranee Pumbien and Nipahawan Berry all of Preston, Lancs., are on trial after being charged following an investigation into the alleged ill treatment and neglect of patients at Briarwood Rest Home in Lostock Hall. See Ross Parry Copy RPYCARE ''Thomas Temple/rossparry.co.uk

Pictured - The care home formerly known as Briarwood Rest Home in Lostock Hall, Lancs., which is now called Willowbrooke care home. Meghadeven and Indranee Pumbien and Nipahawan Berry all of Preston, Lancs., are on trial after being charged following an investigation into the alleged ill treatment and neglect of patients at Briarwood Rest Home in Lostock Hall. See Ross Parry Copy RPYCARE ''Thomas Temple/rossparry.co.uk

During the six week trial at Preston Crown Court the jury heard about a catalogue of abuse and ill treatment of elderly patients at Briarwood Rest Home in Lostock Hall.

Some were force fed and one woman was denied medical treatment after she sustained scalds to her legs and buttocks from a bath which was too hot.

Police and social services closed the home in June 2014 amid claims of abuse and neglect.

But Indranee Pumbien, 59, the manager of Briarwood, told the court she was “a caring person” who worked back-to-back shifts between the home in Todd Lane South and another care setting in Fulwood.

I certainly can’t rule out custody for Niphawan Berry or Meghadeven and it is highly likely for Mrs Pumbien.

Judge Pamela Badley

But after 43 hours of deliberations the jury convicted her of two counts of ill treatment by force feeding and another by failing to seek medical assistance for Margaret Wheatley, 99, when the scalds were discovered on her legs and feet.

One care worker told the court Mrs Pumbien and her husband Meghadeven, 64, were overheard discussing Mrs Wheatley’s blisters and saying if they popped the wounds they could make it appear that the dementia sufferer had contracted cellulitis.

When Mrs Wheatley’s GP examined the patient, the explanation of cellulitis was repeated, and he was not told that the pensioner had been in a bath the previous day.

However the jury failed to reach a verdict as to how Mrs Wheatley sustained her injuries and a charge of causing grievous bodily harm in respect of carer Niphawan Berry, 42, was ordered to lie on the file.

Prosecutor Francis McEntee told the court it would not be in the public interest to pursue a retrial in respect of three further counts of force feeding relating to Indranee Pumbien after she was convicted of two counts and found not guilty of two counts.

A date will now be set for the sentence hearings of Berry, Indranee Pumbien and Meghadeven Pumbien.

Judge Pamela Badley said: “These are serious matters and the court will be looking very carefully at all the matters concerned.

“I certainly can’t rule out custody for Niphawan Berry or Meghadeven and it is highly likely for Mrs Pumbien.”

Berry, of Christ Church Street, Preston and Mr and Mrs Pumbien, of Grosvenor Place, Ashton, have been found guilty of neglect by covering up Mrs Wheatley’s injuries and Indranee Pumbien convicted of two counts of force feeding.

She was cleared of seven counts of causing ill-treament of people without capacity and a single count of perverting the course of justice.

Meghadeven Pumbien was cleared of neglect by failing to provide adequate lifting equipment.