'Mouth tape' care worker sentenced

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The Independent Online

A care worker who "humiliated" an 89-year-old dementia patient by taping his mouth shut and forcing him to lie on the floor was given a suspended jail sentence today.

Josephine Apalisok, 47, and co-defendant Abel Romel Bellary, 58, were found guilty of assault by beating at a trial held last month at Bournemouth Magistrates' Court.

The court heard that the pair placed sticky tape over the mouth of pensioner Derek Maynard at Kings Park Hospital, Bournemouth, Dorset, in October 2008.

They also told the elderly patient, who has since died, to lie on the floor when he asked to be taken to bed, the court was told.

Dr Alieun Jobarteh, prosecuting, said that both defendants had ridiculed Mr Maynard who, as well as having dementia, suffered from advanced heart disease and lung cancer.

He said: "Both defendants humiliated him by mocking him when he requested to go to bed.

"They placed Sellotape on the victim's mouth and both continued to ridicule him."

Dr Jobarteh added that the defendants assaulted Mr Maynard a second time when he asked to go to bed.

He said: "He was told in a harsh manner if he wanted to go to bed he would have to lie on the floor.

"Mr Maynard slipped from his chair to the floor and was left to lie there until he was helped to his chair."

Dr Jobarteh said that other members of staff at the hospital had been shocked by what they had witnessed.

The married mother of three, from Bournemouth, was sentenced to 12 weeks' imprisonment suspended for two years and was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service and pay £400 court costs.

Sentencing Apalisok, who moved from the Philippines to the UK in January 2003, chairman of the bench Michael Joseph said: "The court has taken a very serious view of this case.

"The care you provided fell far short of your professional responsibility.

"Your actions were both inexcusable and cruel."

Naomi Reese, defending Apalisok who wept during the hearing, said that her client had never been in trouble before.

She said: "This is totally out of character for Mrs Apalisok. She has had nothing but an exemplary record."

The case against Bellary, of Bournemouth, was adjourned for sentencing on November 10 and he was released on conditional bail until then.