Two care assistants have been found guilty of mistreating severely disabled patients in their care at a Doncaster hospital.
A jury at Sheffield Crown Court heard that people attending the Solar Centre at St Catherine’s Hospital in Balby were abused and tormented by James Hinds and Susan Murphy.
Hinds, aged 59, was found guilty of 10 counts of ill-treating patients and Murphy, 43, was found guilty of 15 counts.
Another care assistant, Julie Burge, 48, and physiotherapy assistant Michael Barnard, 49, were acquitted of all charges.
The abuse took place over a two year period from 2005-07 but took so long to come to court because the initial South Yorkshire Police investigation failed to uncover sufficient evidence before the victims’ families pressed for a deeper probe.
Police accepted they had ‘added to the difficulties’ in bringing the case to court.
Judge Rosalind Coe told the couple, who will be sentenced on June 14: “You are both fully aware that custodial sentences are the likely outcome.”
Hinds was acquitted of nine further charges and Murphy was cleared of five further charges after the jury of five men and seven women deliberated for two days.
Afterwards, Det Chf Insp Natalie Shaw said it was ‘an extremely difficult and emotional time’ for the victims and their families.
“It has been a lengthy and complex case and South Yorkshire Police accept we have added to the difficulties in bringing this case before the courts. “However on recognising this, we have since worked tirelessly with the families and the Crown Prosecution Service to progress the investigation, with a dedicated team of officers collating as much information and evidence as possible and utilising all the legislation and powers available to build a stronger case, which has now successfully led to a prosecution.
“I am pleased we have finally been able to hold those responsible to account and hope this result will bring closure for the victims and their families and they can try to move forward with their lives.”
Dr Nav Ahluwalia, RDaSH executive medical director, said: “We fully apologised to service users and their families at the time of the incidents and we apologise again today for the actions of the individuals that have been found guilty.
“We will not tolerate staff mistreating service users and have reinforced our channels of communication to ensure that staff, service users and carers report suspected abuse so that we can take action.”