Sheffield carer rejects bullying claims

Lime Trees care home, Devon Road, Sheffield.
Lime Trees care home, Devon Road, Sheffield.
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A senior worker at the centre of abuse allegations at a Sheffield care home has denied bullying its elderly residents.

Ann Culley told a jury she always treated older folk ‘with respect’ as she rebuffed claims she had thrown a woman into her wheelchair at Lime Trees Nursing Home in Pitsmoor.

The prosecution alleges Culley ‘picked on’ resident Barbara Bell while she was employed as a senior carer between June 2010 and 2012.

Witnesses have spoken of how, on one occasion, the 51-year-old left Mrs Bell outside her office crying for assistance to get to the toilet.

But Culley said: “I liked Barbara. She was a character. At meal times she would want to go first, and I’d tell her she’d have to wait her turn and she’d give a little smirk.

“She went to the toilet. I never remember any time she was outside my office. If she had have been asking for help, it was my job to take her, and I would have.”

Culley also denied deliberately teasing dementia patient Thomas Freeman by purposely taking his favourite cup away from him.

She said: “The only time the cup went away was to be cleaned. If he got frustrated I’d explain to him that it had to be sterilised.”

Sheffield Crown Court heard Culley had turbulent relationships with colleagues who have given evidence against her.

She said there was ‘tittle tattle’ between herself and co-worker Michelle Farr, and admitted they had lodged complaints about one another’s behaviour to senior managers.

Culley, of Longley Close, Norwood, Sheffield, is accused of two offences of ill treatment and neglect. Her former colleague Carol Grant, of Calder Way, Firth Park, is also on trial facing three neglect charges.

Both were suspended after Sheffield Council stepped in to investigate abuse allegations at the home.

Culley said: “I cared about the service users. I’m a great believer that one day it could be you, or your mum and dad, so I treat them how I would want to be treated.”