Carer tells court she witnessed elderly residents being dragged down corridors

Indranee and Meghadeven Pumbien outside Preston Crown Court
Indranee and Meghadeven Pumbien outside Preston Crown Court
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A care home boss accused of force-feeding residents at a care home has been described as “all sweetness and light” when families visited the home in Lostock Hall.

But a carer, who witnessed the alleged mistreatment of vulnerable patients, said Indranee Pumbien, 59, was covering up abuse meted out at Briarwood Rest Home in Todd Lane South.

Susan Briscoe, who was a carer there between 2010 and 2014, said she saw Pumbien, of Grosvenor Place, Ashton, Preston, force-feeding patients on an almost daily basis.

She told Preston Crown Court that one elderly patient, Margaret Wheatley, needed some assistance eating.

She added: “If Mrs Pumbien could see she wasn’t eating, she tried to assist her in the way that Mrs Pumbien found effective.”

The court heard Briarwood had an open-door policy for relatives of the residents. But Mrs Briscoe said: “She was all sweetness and light when the relatives were there.

“When relatives were there she was all smiley and cheerful.”

She told the court she had seen patients who required lifting equipment being dragged down corridors.

On one occasion, she and a colleague had been stopped from helping residents getting out of bed and washed and dressed for the day to sweep up cigarette butts from outside the building. When they refused and tried to return to care duties, she said Pumbien told them: “You aren’t dealing with any more residents until you have swept them up.”

Mrs Briscoe said: “In the time that we were sitting downstairs one of the residents could have easily tried to get themselves out of bed.”

The incident was reported to ACAS by the co-worker but when asked why she did not report any of the incidents of abuse and neglect she claimed to have witnessed, Mrs Briscoe, replied: “She would make your life living hell if she thought it was you.”

Employee Niphawan Berry, 42, of Christ Church Street, Preston, denies one charge of GBH one charge of ill treatment and one charge of neglect. Indranee, 59, and Meghadeven Pumbien, 64, of Grosvenor Place, Ashton, also deny neglect in respect of Mrs Wheatley’s injuries and perverting the course of justice.

Indranee Pumbien, also denies 13 counts of ill treatment and Meghadeven denies neglecting to provide adequate lifting equipment and training.