A carer who subjected a 74-year-old dementia sufferer to “grotesque and vile” abuse while she was looking after her has been jailed for six months.
Dorothy Graves, 63, was caught after the victim’s niece became suspicious and hid a microphone in her home.
Leeds Crown Court heard the relative was horrified and broke down in tears when she listened to the recordings of the elderly woman being abused and taunted by Graves.
Recorder Amanda Rippon told Graves that only an immediate prison was appropriate because her offending undermined the public’s confidence in the caring system. The part-time judge told Graves: “You abuse (the victim) in the most grotesque and the most vile manner.
“She was 74-years-old and she was completely in your thrall. She couldn’t do anything about your behaviour. Public confidence in the caring profession is being regularly knocked, and cases of this kind case cause huge concern within the community.”
Graves, of Greenwell Court, Osmondthorpe, Leeds, pleaded guilty to six counts of ill-treatment of a person without capacity.
The offences took place while Graves was the main carer for the woman at her home on Brooklands Court, Leeds.
Mehran Nassiri, prosecuting said Graves was considered like a member of the family by the victim’s relatives and was trusted with much of her care as she became increasingly immobile and unable to communicate and her condition worsened.
The victim’s niece became suspicious early last year when her aunt began to appear ‘jumpy’ and restless. She took the decision to bug the living room by using voice recording equipment to monitor the situation.
A total of 44 hours of recordings were made in all, on which 17 separate incidents of abuse were discovered.
On many occasions Graves was recorded shouting foul-mouthed abuse or threats at the victim. On one occasion she was recorded saying: “You stink you dirty old cow.”
On another occasion, as Graves was feeding the woman, she said: “Don’t have this all over. I’ll ******* knife you.”
Graves also verbally abused the elderly woman in the presence of her granddaughter, who also worked as a carer. Graves withheld food from the victim of two occasion and was recorded telling her granddaughter how she would put the woman’s pudding down the sink instead of feeding it to her.
Police were informed and she was suspended by her employers, health care company SAGA.
Holly Betke, mitigating, said Graves was overworked at the time of the offences as she had taken on extra shifts in a bid to pay off debt.
Miss Betke added Graves was also going through the strain of a relationship break-up at the time.