Bury St Edmunds/Ipswich: Care home owner spared jail for neglect

A CARE home owner has been given a suspended prison sentence after leaving a helpless 97-year-old woman with horrendous bed sores and then covering up her neglect.

During her Ipswich Crown Court sentencing Sandra Spendley, of Eastern Way, Bury St Edmunds, was also banned from working in residential care for two years.

The 69-year-old had pleaded guilty to ill treatment/neglect of a person who lacks mental capacity.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said Spendley was the co-owner of Cedar Lodge Care Home, Culford, near Bury St Edmunds.

In October 2010 carer Sarah Nunn was washing resident Emily Mendham, who was immobile and unable to communicate, when she noticed a sore had developed.

Spendley told Miss Nunn to apply cream, but no dressing. The sore got worse. Miss Nunn and other members of staff brought the issue up regularly with Spendley, who lied to them about it being attended to.

As the situation worsened staff put comments about Mrs Mendham’s sore in the handover book, which was removed by Spendley and a new one put in its place. When further comments were put in the new book pages were torn out.

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By March 2011 Mrs Mendham had two sores. Dressings were improperly applied and left on too long. A nurse had not been called.

Mr Jackson said: “Sarah Nunn and a colleague removed the dressing to examine (Mrs Mendham). The sight that met them was extremely unpleasant. Miss Nunn described seeing a hole, as she put it, ‘big enough to put a tennis ball in’.”

Another carer described the sores as “horrendous”.

They were discovered by a paramedic called after Mrs Mendham fell out of bed on March 23.

She was taken to hospital where the ulcers on her hips were dressed properly. Mrs Mendham was taken home three hours later by Spendley.

A week later the dressings had still not been changed.

Social services were already investigating another complaint, and sent a doctor to see Mrs Mendham. Police were then called in.

Mrs Mendham was taken to hospital where she remained until April 29, but picked up an infection and died the same day.

In addition to her six-month jail sentence being suspended for two years, Spendley must also pay �3,000 court costs.

After her sentencing, Mrs Mendham’s granddaughter Gail Jefferson said: “If we had any idea what was happening nan would have been out of there in a flash. We didn’t know anything about it. I was absolutely livid. Spendley has caused us so much stress and heartache.”

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