A NURSING home resident with a degenerative illness was assaulted by a member of staff, a court heard.
Preston Crown Court was told the incident came to light when a relative was visiting 71-year-old Keith Kirkland and he told her he had been hit with a coat hanger.
The assault arose while Mr Kirkland was being cared for at Tudor Manor Nursing Home on Clifton Drive, South Shore. He has since died, but his death was unconnected with what happened last June.
Ching Chuah, of Park Road, St Annes, appeared for sentencing having admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Duncan Birrell, prosecuting, said Mr Kirkland was suffering from a degenerative illness. As well as a physical deterioration, there had been a change in his character and personality.
He had become irritable and aggressive and needed full time care.
On June 19, a relative went to visit him and Mr Kirkland said he had been hit on his buttocks.
An injury was noticed when he was examined. A member of staff also examined the elderly man and was “horrified” by what she saw.
The following day, when challenged by the relative, the defendant admitted having slapped him.
He added: “I did hit him. I just lost it.”
Mr Kirkland had two bruises on his left buttock. When interviewed by the police, the defendant accepted the assault, but said he did not realise it had caused injury.
He said he had used the coat hanger to try to snap Mr Kirkland out of his aggressive behaviour.
Sarah Booth, defending, handed in numerous letters and references on behalf of her client.
Others used words to describe the defendant were “polite, cheerful, respectable, a man of integrity, honest, dedicated, peace-loving, courteous and professional”.
Miss Booth told the court: “The words ‘out of character’ have seldom meant as much as they do in this case.
“It is a tragedy he appears before the court.”
She said Chuah did not seek to blame anybody but himself for the situation he found himself in.
Miss Booth added “To say this whole incident has had an effect on him is a drastic understatement. His health and his partner’s health has suffered. He is not eating or sleeping properly.
“He is absolutely devastated by what has happened.
“His thinking at the time was to try to calm him, stop him lashing out.
“He is extremely remorseful and has punished himself from the moment it happened.”
Chuah was given 20 weeks prison, suspended for eighteen months.
The judge, Recorder Geoff Lowe, told him in passing sentence “It’s a serious incident because of the age and vulnerability of Mr Kirkland. An instrument or weapon was used.
“Vulnerable people are entitled to the protection of the court.
“I am satisfied this represented a lapse, with you behaving in a way you should not have behaved.”