A daughter watched in horror as a carer beat her elderly mum, who is battling dementia, on footage captured on secret cameras.
Horrified Gina Owen saw her 78-year-old mum, Sabina Marsden, being slapped, shouted at and having her blanket ripped from her.
She was filled with rage after watching the “heinous act” on her mobile phone while at her desk at work.
Gina only saw the abuse as she was demonstrating the camera’s capabilities to a customer in the electrical shop she works in.
Gina’s sister Mandy had left the house in Kettering, Northamptonshire, just 10 minutes earlier when former Mega Care employee Stacey George, 46, launched her shocking assault.
Gina saw the footage at work and headed straight home.
When Stacey was confronted with the video evidence, the carer said: “I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry.”
In the footage Sabina can be seen putting her hand under her blanket but Stacey slaps her several times. When Sabina does it again Stacey hauls the blanket off her before throwing it back.
The carer was caught on a hidden camera just minutes after Gina’s sister had left the house
Stacey was fired by Mega Care after the attack came to light and given a caution by Northamptonshire Police after admitting the assault.
Gina said: “It’s nothing more than a slap on the wrist, I can’t get my head around it.
“If I had hit her that day I would have been a lot worse off than her. She should never have got off with a caution.
“It really is an assault. I watched the attack live on my phone from work. I was furious. Seeing it was just horrible.
“My mum is a wonderful person and deserves so much better than this. She has been living through hell.”
Northamptonshire Police said they were willing to meet with the family to discuss their decision.
A force spokesman said: “We can confirm that we investigated reports of an assault in Kettering which took place on June 13, 2017.
“After a thorough investigation and a review of all the evidence, a 46-year-old woman was issued with a police caution.
“Safeguarding vulnerable people is a high priority for the force.
“It’s disappointing when victims and their families are not completely satisfied with the outcome of an investigation and we would be happy to discuss this with them if they’d like to contact us.”
Sisters Gina and Mandy Aston, 48, look after their mum in the evenings and on weekends, but needed a carer to look after her during the day after their father Malcolm passed away in August 2015.
They began to suspect their mum had been subjected to attacks after her mum began to decline significantly, and ended up installing the cameras in her home on the advice of a second, independent carer.
Gina said: “We thought her decline was just her dementia to begin with. You used to walk in and she would grab hold of your hand really tight.
“She used to scratch her legs constantly. If anyone has an inkling they need to shout because otherwise, people are going to get away with it.
“I think there’s probably more people out there that this is happening to and they’re either too scared to come forward or they haven’t got the evidence.”
Mandy said the assault left her feeling like they had let their dad down.
She said: “Looking back at it now you think was she trying to tell us something?
“We promised our dad when he died that we would never put mum in care and we feel like we’ve let him down.”
Since the carer’s behaviour was discovered Sabina’s health has improved greatly. She is talking more than she did and eating and sleeping better.
Gina and Mandy criticised Miss George’s employers and made a number of allegations about the quality of care they provided and their response to the assault.
Mega Care’s chief operating officer Winner Lawal said they were ‘gravely disheartened’ by the allegations and that all of their staff are trained to the level set out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Mr Lawal said: “We are appalled and disgusted by the actions of this ex-staff member.
“Of the 22 months that we cared for Sabina, this same staff member provided more than 96 per cent of the total visits.
“Sabina was the only service user cared for by this [member of] staff.
“Regular feedback from Sabina’s daughters expressed their preference of having this staff member as their sole care worker.
“We believe in the importance of continuity and understand the benefits continuity can have in the lives of our service users, therefore we agreed to this request.
“There was no prior indication that this staff member was capable of these heinous acts.”
Mr Lawal added that a CQC investigation concluded that they had implemented all required prevention processes and procedures and that they were working with governing bodies to ensure Miss George would not have the opportunity to repeat her actions.
Since the incident, the family of Mrs Marsden say they have received a bill from Mega Care which they are refusing to pay.
A spokesman for Seatons Solicitors, which is acting on the family’s behalf, said: “As lawyers at Seatons we are, sadly, no stranger to cases of elderly abuse.
“It is really important for families of the elderly to watch out for signs that there may be problems, as this family has – particularly where the elderly person has a vulnerability such as dementia.
“The legal framework for the protection of the elderly is not as robust as it needs to be.
“That the carer in this matter has been dealt with by way of a caution means that she has admitted the assault.
“Had this been a domestic assault, or if the victim had been a child, I strongly suspect that the assault would have elicited a much harsher, and in my view more appropriate, response from the criminal justice system.