Care worker denies ill-treatment of two vulnerable home residents in Dereham area

Norwich Crown Courtpicture by Adrian Juddfor EDP

Norwich Crown Courtpicture by Adrian Juddfor EDP - Credit: Archant

A care home worker has denied she ill-treated two vulnerable adults she was meant to care for, a court heard.

Karen Gathergood, 48, a residential care worker in the Dereham area, is alleged to have pulled the hair and slapped one woman with severe learning difficulties and tried to force a man with cerebral palsy to eat food he did not like, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Gathergood, of Old Fakenham Road, Foxley, has denied seven counts of ill-treatment or neglect of a person lacking mental capacity.

Duncan O'Donnell, prosecuting, said that both the vulnerable adults in the case, who were both in their 30s, needed intensive round-the-clock care.

He said that some members of staff had expressed concerns about Gathergood.

In one incident the female patient, who would often pull the hair and slap care workers that were looking after her, had pulled Gathergood's hair as she was leaning over to help her, the court heard.

Mr O'Donnell said that the defendant is alleged to have pulled the resident's hair back and told her: 'You pull my hair so I'll pull yours.'

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In another incident he claimed Gathergood had retaliated when slapped on the arm by the resident as she had taken her to the toilet and had slapped her back.

She was also alleged to have sworn at the male resident in the home and used to try to make him eat food he did not want.

He said that matters came to light when a new manager took over and staff had approached him about their concerns.

Gathergood was immediately suspended from work.

When interviewed, Gathergood denied hitting the resident or pulling her hair.

He said Gathergood said there was no way she would act like that and said it would be 'totally out of order'.

The trial continues.

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