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Exclusive: Daughter of care home abuse victim slams four month prison sentence given to Romford nurse

Veronica Davis holds an old picture of her parents, William Patrick and Bridget Rees. Photo credit: Isabel Infantes Veronica Davis holds an old picture of her parents, William Patrick and Bridget Rees. Photo credit: Isabel Infantes

Friday, July 11, 2014
10:17 AM

The heartbroken daughter of an elderly dementia ­patient who suffered abuse at the hands of a Romford care home nurse has spoken out after the carer was jailed for just four months.

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An extract of a video where Bridget Rees holds her hands up to nurse Grace Bello during her time at Mary Seacole Nursing Home.An extract of a video where Bridget Rees holds her hands up to nurse Grace Bello during her time at Mary Seacole Nursing Home.

Faderera Grace Bello was secretly filmed manhandling, poking and verbally abusing 92-year-old Bridget Rees while working as a staff nurse at Mary Seacole Nursing Home, in Hoxton.

On Wednesday Bello, 54, of Southern Way in Romford, was jailed by a judge at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

She pleaded guilty to carer ill-treatment/wilful neglect, contrary to Section 44 Mental Capacity Act 2005, police have said.

Mrs Rees, who herself had spent nearly four decades working as a nurse at the old Hackney Hospital, died in May this year. Her death was unrelated to the abuse.

Bridget Rees, who was abused by care home nurse Grace BelloBridget Rees, who was abused by care home nurse Grace Bello

Speaking to the Recorder after the case, Mrs Rees’s daughter Veronica Davis slammed the sentence, which she said has let down her mum “100 per cent”.

Veronica, 59, lives in Bentham Road, Hackney, with her husband Keith.

She said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. The judge may as well have just thrown a joke book at her. That’s how it felt.

“In eight weeks, she will be out walking down the street.

Care home abuse victim Bridget Rees on her 91st birthdayCare home abuse victim Bridget Rees on her 91st birthday

“My mum didn’t leave that home the same person she was. She was frightened and terrified. She lost trust in people.”

A police report has said that suspicions first arose in October last year – just weeks after Mrs Rees had entered the home – when Mrs Davis noticed bruising on her arms.

Staff told Mrs Davis the marks were caused by her mother’s medication, but unconvinced, she purchased a clock containing a motion sensitive hidden camera.

Distressing footage captured by the secret camera in December confirmed Mrs Rees’s family’s suspicions.

It showed Bello telling her to shut up, manhandling her and poking her in the face.

After the family confronted the home’s senior management, Bello was suspended from work.

She was later dismissed by Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for gross misconduct and arrested by police.

Mrs Davis has vowed to fight for CCTV to be installed in care homes and hospitals everywhere to protect vulnerable patients.

“The people in that home are so, so ill. They rely on these people to look after them,” said Mrs Davis, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

“The NHS let my mum down, and this sentence has let her down 100 per cent.”

Mrs Rees and husband, Bill, who died 23 years ago, had both worked at the old Hackney Hospital.

Speaking after the case, a spokesman for Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who run the home, branded Bello’s behaviour as “appalling” and said its recruitment policy had been reviewed. He said: “The safety and care of our patients is paramount. This sort of appalling behaviour will never be tolerated.

“We have made all staff caring for patients aware that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and ensure that all staff are trained in safeguarding adults good practice.”

Bello has been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which has the power to strike her off, and the Care Quality Commission.

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