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inexcusable and insulting Heartless pensioner who slapped and shouted at vulnerable OAPs narrowly avoids jail

Violet Campbell was convicted at Derry Magistrates Court of four counts of ill-treating patients at Seymour Gardens Residential Home

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Violet Campbell 68, a former Derry residential home carer was convicted of `harrowing and unpleasant' ill treatment of patients in her care

Violet Campbell 68, a former Derry residential home carer was convicted of `harrowing and unpleasant' ill treatment of patients in her care

Violet Campbell 68, a former Derry residential home carer was convicted of `harrowing and unpleasant' ill treatment of patients in her care

A nasty care worker convicted of abusing vulnerable patients at a care home says she’s been treated “unfairly”.

Violet Campbell – pictured here for the first time – even had the audacity to whine to the Sunday World that the last three years had been "very hard" for her.

Campbell, a pensioner herself, was convicted at Derry Magistrates Court of four counts of ill-treating patients at Seymour Gardens Residential Home.

A judge described her treatment of the patients as like “kicking someone when they are down but can’t complain”.

But despite the judge describing her behaviour as "inexcusable and insulting", Campbell narrowly avoided going to jail after she was handed a three-month suspended sentence instead.

The 68-year-old, from Abbeydale, Derry, slapped one patient in the leg and held a running shower into a patient’s face while shouting: “I will shut you up”.

Her colleagues reported a series of incidents to management at the care home.

Cruel Campbell demonstrated shocking treatment of an elderly patient by ordering her out of bed by stating: "Get up, you are stinking."

Campbell had denied all the charges but was found guilty at a contest hearing earlier this year where former colleagues lined up to give evidence against her.

One even described her as "a cruel person" and revealed, when challenged about her behaviour, Campbell “warned” them against speaking out.

And on Friday morning Violet Campbell maintained her belief that she was the victim.

“It’s been a hard three years for me and I wasn’t treated fairly,” she told us on the doorstep.

“I’m still considering whether to appeal or not but my solicitor has told me not to speak to anyone until then.

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“There is another side to the story, it’s very sad. I was a care worker for 30 years and now my good name is tarnished.”

We offered her the opportunity to apologise to the families of her victims, but she declined.

And she pointed out she had not been sacked. “I resigned,” she said.

District Judge Liam McStay criticised the Western Health and Social Care Trust for what he described as a permitted culture of failing to address concerns raised by staff over the treatment of highly vulnerable residents.

He praised the staff who came forward despite what he described as a reluctance to report concerns as action was not being taken.

A defence lawyer argued it was his client’s “desire for cleanliness ” as opposed to cruelty which had led to the charges, which she continues to deny.

The judge criticised the home management’s poor reaction to staff reporting Campbell’s physical and verbal and abuse of victims on various dates between September 2017 and December 2018. In evidence, Campbell’s former colleagues detailed a number of disturbing incidents.

One former colleague told the court nothing was done when she reported her to management.

“I reported my concerns but was told to calm down. Nothing was done about it, yet again. Management never dealt with it. My concerns were not dealt with at all,” she said.

Campbell however dismissed the evidence against her, claiming her former colleagues were jealous.

Judge McStay convicted on four out of five counts, branding Campbell’s attitude and treatment of her victims as “inexcusable and insulting”.

A defence solicitor contended Campbell’s behaviour “was not cruel and deliberate to inflict harm, but rather her inability to put the feelings and wellbeing of victims above her desire for cleanliness”.

He continued: “She was not inflicting wanton violence against the injured parties for a sort of kick or loss of temper. While there is reference to the long period of time the offences committed, they were specific and isolated, involving one or two incidents as opposed to a daily regimen of abuse, day in, day out.”

Judge McStay said: “I have a victim impact statement which makes harrowing reading, and I do not dispute the sentiments expressed therein. Essentially it is a great act of trust to put a vulnerable parent into the care of other people and when that trust is violated, it affects all the others.

“What struck me about the witnesses was their emphasises that these patients – who are perhaps the most vulnerable in society and completely dependent on the people who care for them – they are at home.

“It’s that point which colours how the case is seen. This is very much a breach of trust. Each and every one of these residents were entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”

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