Hillcroft nursing home

There are five privately-owned Hillcroft nursing homes in north Lancashire
Three carers mocked, bullied and assaulted elderly residents of a care home, a court has heard.

The three female staff members deny abusing eight people with advanced dementia at Hillcroft nursing home in Slyne-with-Hest near Lancaster.

One resident was slapped and others were mocked "for entertainment" between May 2010 and September 2011, Preston Crown Court was told.

A fourth carer has pleaded guilty to ill-treating residents, the jury heard.

Darren Smith, 34, of Howgill Avenue, Lancaster, was seen in bed with a distressed resident and has admitted abusing eight people at the home, the court heard.

'Wheelchair tipped'

Katie Cairns, 26, of Riverview Court, Westgate, Morecambe, is alleged to have abused four residents - stamping on the foot of one and mocking others by throwing bean bags at them and touching them.

Carol Moore, 53, of Ripon Avenue, Beaumont, Lancaster, is accused of abusing six residents - slapping one and throwing bean bags at others while laughing.

Gemma Pearson, 27, of Hill Street, Carnforth, is accused of tipping a resident out of their wheelchair.

The defendants told other carers they were bored and were doing it for entertainment, prosecutors said.

All were charged under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 with ill-treatment and wilful neglect of a person with lack of capacity.

They had previously been suspended from the home following abuse allegations made by a receptionist and a cleaner in September 2011, the court heard.

But they returned to work after being handed warnings following an internal investigation and the matter was not referred to the police or social services.

The court heard in December 2011 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was sent anonymous emails about the standard of care inside the home.

The CQC referred the matter to the local authority's safeguarding team who told police in May 2012.

The trial is expected to last up to four weeks.