Care home scandal nurse at hearing
Friday 30th August 2013, 2:50AM BST.
A nurse jailed for his part in the Winterbourne View care home scandal faces being struck off the nursing register.
Sookalingum Appoo was sentenced to six months imprisonment for wilfully neglecting patient Simone Blake.
During February and March of 2011, nine s upport workers were caught abusing five patients in a sting by a BBC Panorama reporter with a hidden camera posing as a carer.
Appoo and another nurse were filmed condoning the abuse at the private hospital, in Hambrook, South Gloucestershire, by failing to stop it.
Journalist Joseph Casey got a job at Winterbourne View after whistleblower Terry Bryan, a former nurse at the home, went to the BBC after his complaints to owners Castlebeck and care watchdogs were ignored.
His shocking footage showed residents being slapped, soaked in water, trapped under chairs, taunted, sworn at and having their hair pulled, eyes poked and being illegally restrained.
Five residents, including Miss Blake, s uffered at the hands of the defendants.
Appoo was sentenced in October last year having previously pleaded guilty to three counts of neglect.
Hours of graphic footage played to the court show Appoo laughing when , after discovering Miss Blake soaking wet, he was told by support workers who had poured water over her that she wet herself.
When soaking wet Miss Blake asked staff not to point an electric fan at her Appoo stood by laughing , Bristol Crown Court saw.
The film also captured three support workers, Alison Dove, Graham Doyle and Holly Draper, holding Miss Blake down on the floor while Appoo forced paracetamol into her mouth.
During a separate incident, support worker Wayne Rogers is seen placing a chair over Miss Blake as Appoo walks past and says nothing.
The footage sees him walk off shot when another support worker Michael Ezenagu knees Miss Blake – but the court was told it was unclear whether or not Appoo witnessed the abuse.
Later, Rogers could be seen restraining Miss Blake by holding her on his lap and hooking his arms up under hers and locking her in position. Appoo then calls out from the corridor “OK, bye, see you tomorrow”.
He had a direct view of the inappropriate restraint but raised no questions, the court was told.
Sentencing Appoo, Judge Neil Ford QC told the nurse: ” You laughed at ludicrous explanations given as to why Simone was wet. You took no steps to prevent the fan being directed at her and found the situation amusing .”
He told the nurse that he “failed” to ensure proper care for Miss Blake when she was forced to take her medication.
With regards to being restrained under a chair by Rogers, the judge added: “You did nothing to prevent this inappropriate and degrading procedure.
“Later as she was being held in a wrestling hold you failed to protect her.”
He concluded: “Your failure to protect Simone Blake constituted a gross breach of your responsibility for her care.”
Appoo, who worked as a nurse for 37 years before the scandal, today faces a Nursing and Midwifery Council fitness to practise hearing in London.
The 60-year-old from Bristol is already subject to an interim suspension order which means he is not allowed to work while the fitness to practise panel investigates the allegations of misconduct against him.