‘Neglectful’ care home owner jailed

Phillip Bentley.''Ross Parry Agency  all rights reserved.
Phillip Bentley.''Ross Parry Agency all rights reserved.
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A former nursing home owner who tried to cover up shocking failings in the care of vulnerable residents has been jailed for neglect.

Philip Bentley, 65, of Woodthorpe Drive, Wakefield, was sent to prison for 12 months along with Faheza Simpson, who was manager of Elm View nursing home in Halifax.

Faheza Simpson.''Ross Parry Agency  all rights reserved

Faheza Simpson.''Ross Parry Agency all rights reserved

Bradford Crown Court heard weeks of evidence about under-staffing and a lack of resources at the home, where residents developed pressure sores as a result of poor care.

Bentley, who bought the home in 1990, was convicted on three neglect charges relating to three women aged 78, 81 and 85.

Simpson 49, of Holmfirth, was found guilty on those charges and a further neglect offence relating to a 68-year-old man who developed a serious pressure sore after spending a week at the home.

A police investigation was launched in October 2011 after officers and NHS nurses visited the home.
They found one elderly woman lying in a urine-soaked bed.

On Monday, judge Jonathan Rose said: “You Philip Bentley would not spend the money needed to run this home properly.

“You put the saving of money, perhaps your profit, over the welfare of elderly and vulnerable patients.”

The case highlighted inadequate record-keeping, insufficient cleaning materials, a lack of regular turning and toileting and a lack of vital equipment at the care home.

Ian Ball was hospitalised after suffering a serious pressure sore during his one-week stay at Elm View.

After his Mr Ball’s wife Janet made a complaint about his care Bentley tried to cover up the neglect.

Judge Rose said Bentley hid Mr Ball’s file, asked Simpson to get a nurse to make a dishonest statement and submitted a dishonest report about his care.

Judge Rose said: “Indeed you demonstrated, as we have seen in this case, a willingness then as there is now to lie to cover up the awful reality of what was going on as you lied in the reports you were required to make by regulations to the authorities.”

Simpson’s barrister Michelle Colborne QC said her client believed she had been doing her best for the residents, and had battled against a lack of resources.

With hindsight, she should have either blown the whistle herself or resigned, Miss Colborne said.

Sam Green, for Bentley, said the case had taken a huge toll on his client, whose wife died from a stroke last year.

Mr Green said: “He’s lost his wife, his business and his reputation. In my submission he doesn’t also need to lose his liberty immediately.”

But Judge Rose he was unable to avoid the conclusion that custodial sentences were called for, although he accepted that prison terms could not compensate the victims’ families for their suffering.