Carer jailed after neglecting woman who drowned at Goodmayes care home
PUBLISHED: 13:15 09 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:56 10 February 2016
A carer who failed to call an ambulance when she found a vulnerable woman drowning in the bath has been jailed for four-and-a-half months.
Christine Blake, 60, left Yvonne Wilson alone in the bathroom at the Goodmayes Lodge care home in Goodmayes Lane, Goodmayes, while she went to fetch clean nightclothes.
She heard a thump and went back to find the mentally-frail Ms Wilson undressed in the bath with her head submerged in the water.
Blake pulled the resident from the bath but decided to call the head carer instead of the emergency services.
By the time paramedics arrived they were unable to resuscitate Ms Wilson and she was pronounced dead. The cause of death was given as “unascertained”.
Blake claimed that she believed Ms Wilson was regaining consciousness after pulling her out of the bath shortly after 9.15pm on 7 January 2014.
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that there was no evidence Ms Wilson would have survived if the ambulance was called immediately as the “window of opportunity” to restart breathing is only three or four minutes.
Blake pleaded guilty to a single charge of neglect on the basis that she should not have left the woman alone in the bathroom and the fact that she should have called 999.
Judge John Lafferty told Blake: “The Crown accept that the care being provided both by you and a colleague within the context of the supported accommodation block where Yvonne was living was generally of a high standard and was appreciated by the family.
“But because Yvonne was such a vulnerable adult, the courts have a heavy responsibility to ensure that those caring for such adults maintain the highest standards because, by their very nature, someone in Yvonne’s position is simply not able to look out for herself or draw to the authorities care that falls short of the highest standards.
“You knew better than anyone that it was extremely risky to leave Yvonne in the bathroom where there was a bath full of water.
“It gave rise to a very substantial risk that she might suffer harm.
“I make it very clear that I entirely accept that your neglect cannot be identified as the cause or even one of the causes of her death but nevertheless it was your leaving of her in the bathroom that created the situation in which that tragedy could arise.
“I do take the view that this offence crosses the custody threshold and an immediate custodial sentence is the only punishment commensurate with the gravity of the offence.”
Blake, of Campbell Road, Tottenham, north London, was jailed for four and a half months after admitting wilfully neglecting a person lacking mental capacity.
No prohibition order was passed meaning she may return to her profession when she is released from custody.
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