Staff member assaulted patient at Calderstones

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A vulnerable patient at Calderstones Hospital in Whalley was spat on and had her hair pulled by a member of staff.

Blackburn magistrates heard the 22-year-old victim was severely mentally retarded, suffered from Aspergers Syndrome and was bipolar.

And, at the time of the assault, she voluntarily got on the floor to be restrained by two members of staff. The other member of staff involved in that restraint said Ian James Pilkington’s actions towards the patient were totally unnecessary and against guidelines.

Pilkington (34), of Burton Street, Rishton, was convicted of assault after a trial. He was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison suspended for two years, made subject to community supervision for two years and ordered to pay £200 in compensation to his victim.

Miss Charlotte Crane (prosecuting) said the victim had spent most of her life in care institutions and had been resident at Calderstones since 2011. She regularly lashed out and tried to bite staff and banged her head against the wall.

She was living in her own flat but was closely monitored. On the day of the incident, she was being cared for by Lindsey Bolton, who saw a change in her attitude and realised something was going to happen. She called for assistance and Pilkington came in from the next flat.

Miss Bolton told the court the patient had taken herself to the floor after being told she would be restrained and she and Pilkington were kneeling on either side of her.

She described how the patient made a move towards her and then said something to Pilkington and tried to spit at him.

In response, he spat in her face and started calling her names. He then grabbed her by the hair and pulled her head back.

Miss Crane said it was a “particularly nasty and uncalled for incident.”

“The case is presented on the basis he came to the end of his tether,” said Miss Crane.

Mr Patrick Williamson (defending) said there had been no previous incidents between Pilkington and the aggrieved.

“On this occasion he behaved in a way which was not characteristic for him,” said Mr Williamson. “The victim would try the patience of any normal person, but he has dealt with a large number of previous incidents in a professional manner. He is not a man who did not enjoy his job and took that out on patients.”

Mr Williamson said Pilkington had lost his job and would almost certainly be put on the barred list prohibiting him from working with vulnerable adults or children.